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Kenyans show high appetite for digital payments

Covid-19 pandemic accelerating use of digital platforms by consumers

In Summary

•99 per cent of consumers in Kenya are considering emerging payments such as biometrics, digital currencies and QR code.

•About 88 per cent say they are more loyal to retailers who offer multiple payment options, and would shop at small businesses if offered more diverse ways to pay.

A contactless payment transaction/FILE
A contactless payment transaction/FILE

Majority of Kenyan consumers are keen to try new payment methods in their daily transactions, a survey indicates.

The Mastercard New Payments Index shows 99 per cent consumers will consider using at least one emerging payment method, such as cryptocurrency, biometrics, contactless, or QR code, in the next year.

This, as spending habits continue to be altered by the Covid-19 pandemic which has sent countries into lockdowns since last year, with consumers embracing contactless tap-and-go payments and online shopping.

As stores closed and social distancing took hold, retailers worldwide moved their businesses online, embraced e-commerce and explored the potential of new ways to pay.

More than a year later, research from Mastercard shows that the adoption of new payment technologies is rising, and consumer appetite for new, fast and flexible digital experiences continues to grow.

Over three-fourths of respondents (77 per cent) in the survey conducted in 18 countries agree they have tried a new payment method they would not have tried under normal circumstances, but the pandemic has galvanised people to try flexible new payment options to get what they want, when they want it.

A year into the Covid-19 pandemic, contactless is showing it is staying power and dynamism in the first quarter of 2021 alone, Mastercard saw 1 billion more contactless transactions worldwide as compared to the same period of 2020
Mastercard 

With this interest and consumer demand also comes a greater expectation for businesses to provide multiple ways to shop and pay, Mastercard notes.

In fact, 88 per cent of Kenyan consumers say they are more excited about shopping at retailers who offer the latest payment methods, according to the global technology company in the payments industry.

Additionally, 81 per cent Kenyan consumers say that digital payment methods help them save money.

The pandemic made us think differently, partly out of necessity,” says Craig Vosburg, Chief Product Officer at Mastercard, “To deliver the choice and flexibility that consumers need and increasingly expect retailers worldwide need to offer a range of payment solutions that are easy to access and always on.”

As we look ahead, we need to continue to enable all choices, both in-store and online, to shape the fabric of commerce and make the digital economy work for everyone,”Vosburg adds.

Contactless technology has been the digital catalyst to explore new payment options because of its fast, secure, and touch-free experience.

Between the first quarter of 2020 and the same period in 2021, more than 100 markets saw contactless as a share of total in-person transactions grow by at least 50 per cent.

According to Kenya's banking industry players, the pandemic has accelerated the use of digital platforms, mainly mobile and internet banking.

“A year into the Covid-19 pandemic, contactless is showing it is staying power and dynamism in the first quarter of 2021 alone, Mastercard saw 1 billion more contactless transactions worldwide as compared to the same period of 2020,” the survey reads in part.

All signs point to a continued growth path for contactless, with nearly seven in 10 consumers globally anticipating using a contactless card this year.

The survey was conducted between February 26 and March 10, capturing views of 15,569 consumers in 18 countries in four regions worldwide.

There were 1,000 respondents per country in Australia, India, Thailand, US, Canada, Brazil, Mexico, UAE, Egypt, Saudi Arabia, Nigeria, South Africa and Kenya.

Argentina, Chile, Colombia, Peru, and Dominican Republic had 500 respondents each.

According to Raghav Prasad, Division President, Mastercard, Sub-Saharan Africa,the pandemic is accelerating long-term shifts in consumer transaction and payment methods.

We continue to work with our merchants, fintechs and banking partners to rapidly innovate payment options that meet consumer needs while ensuring we drive financial and digital inclusion,”Prasad.

Looking to the future, digital currencies and wallets, wearables, biometrics, contactless and QR codes are trending as emerging payments technologies as people’s comfort with them and understanding of them increases and the use of cash decreases, Mastercard notes.

Currently, 96 per cent of consumers in Kenya have more ways to pay compared to this time last year according to the survey.

Over eight in ten Kenyan consumers (87 per cent ) say that they would shop at small businesses, if they offered more payment options.

At least 88 per cent noted being more excited to shop at retailers that can offer the latest payment methods, and an equal proportion (88%) said they would be more loyal to retailers who offered multiple payment options.

This behavior shift is reinforced by the desire for consumer choicewith 93 per cent saying that they expect to make purchases when they want and how they want.