There has been a significant surge in contactless payments for everyday purchases since the onset of COVID-19, according to a new study.

The Mastercard global consumer study conducted from April 10 to 12 says that in Canada, 76 per cent of consumers say contactless payments are now their preferred way to pay when making in-store purchases, citing convenience, safety and cleanliness as key drivers. Out of this population, eighty-six per cent of Canadians feel contactless payments are a cleaner way to pay, and 67 per cent feel they are a safer way to pay compared to other payment methods. 

The data also reveals that over 40 per cent growth in contactless transactions globally in the first quarter of 2020. Further, 80 per cent of contactless transactions are under $25, a range that is typically dominated by cash.

During February and March, as countries around the world imposed necessary restrictions on social distancing, nearly eight in 10 global consumers say they have turned to contactless card payments for everyday purchases.

“Social distancing does not just concern people’s interactions with each other; it includes contact with publicly shared devices like point of sale terminals and checkout counters,” said Blake Rosenthal, executive vice-president and head of Mastercard Acceptance Solutions, in a press release. 

Mastercard says as it looks toward a new normal post-pandemic, about 80 per cent of Canadians and 74 per cent global consumers will continue to use contactless payments.

Consumer polling by Mastercard, studying changing consumer behaviours through online interviews of 17,000 consumers in 19 countries worldwide, paints a picture of accelerated and sustained contactless adoption. Click to enlarge. Source: Mastercard

Further, reinforcing changing behaviours and consumer checkout preferences around the world between February and March, Mastercard saw the number of contactless transactions grow twice as fast as the number of non-contactless transactions globally at grocery stores and pharmacies. 

Globally, nearly half of respondents (46 per cent) have swapped out their top-of-wallet card for one that offers contactless – this proportion climbs to 52 per cent among those under 35 years old. 

Just last month, Mastercard announced commitments to increase contactless payment limits in more than 50 countries worldwide across Canada, Latin America, Europe, the Middle East, Africa, Asia Pacific, New Zealand, and the Caribbean among others. 


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