The need for safer and more touchless ways to pay has escalated and consumers are embracing contactless cards as the preferred means of payment, with 77% using them regularly in-store. However, in parallel with the increased use of contactless are rising security and usability concerns. The pandemic has rapidly changed the way one pays and their attitudes towards how they want to pay in the future.

“PIN codes have been annoying for a long time, but who would have thought a year ago that one in three consumers would fear touching the PIN-pad when paying in-store?” comments Lina Andolf-Orup, Head of Marketing at Fingerprints. Nevertheless, today that is the ‘new normal’ and the PIN-pad concern now equals concern levels around handling cash due to fear of contracting viruses, according to a new global study by Fingerprints and conducted by Kantar across five global markets.

Safe and touchless ways

The need for safe and touchless ways to pay has risen. Consumers have continued to move away from using cash (22%), and the bank card is now the dominant way consumers make in-store payments (73%), with very few claiming to use mobile wallets (2%). On average, one in two are using their contactless card as the main method when paying in stores.

Mobile payments will likely grow too but is a polarised method, with one in four thinking they will use it more

France (60%) and the UK (57%) are the countries with the highest penetration, but contactless has also gained adoption in the famously cash-heavy Germany (38%). The contactless card is also used frequently, with over three quarters (77%) using it at least weekly. The majority of consumers (63%) think they will use contactless cards even more in future.

Fondness for contactless cards

Mobile payments will likely grow too but is a polarised method, with one in four thinking they will use it more than today, but 32% still think they won’t make mobile payments at all in-store in future. There are some differences across markets and segments, but the overall picture remains consistent that consumer usage and fondness for contactless cards is here to stay. Consumers need a reason to trust contactless.

The main reason for consumers’ affection for the card is trust - it is easy to use (78%), it works everywhere (70%), it is secure (68%) - and of course, it can work as a complement to the user’s smartphone, especially for online payments. For ‘real life’, in-store payments however, very few think mobile first.

Usability point of view

Consumers truly need a reason to trust contactless, both from a security and usability point of view"

“The contactless card is far from perfect, however. Consumers are worried around its security, and this level of concern has risen since our earlier research, likely fuelled by growing usage and raised payment caps. People are aware and increasingly concerned about anyone being able to use their card if they lose it."

"On the other hand, there is also an issue with the transaction cap and confusion caused by still often needing to input your PIN - an unwelcome step not only because of hygiene concerns, but as an added point of friction. Consumers truly need a reason to trust contactless, both from a security and usability point of view,” adds Lina.

Biometric payment cards

The biometric payment card is the answer to consumer needs. Biometric payment cards, where the user authenticates themselves with their fingerprint on the card instead of entering a PIN code, is a desirable innovation when one asks the consumers.

It will enable secure, hygienic, convenient contactless payments no matter the amount and also offers consumers a ‘wow’ factor with a technology that’s still somewhat familiar, with many now comfortable with biometrics from use in smartphones. Biometric payment cards directly address consumer needs and concerns, both rational and emotional. Half of all consumers want a biometric payment card, with a further quarter being open to it.

Fingerprint feature

In fact, they want it so much that over half (51%) would switch bank if they could have one. In Australia and the UK, the interest is even higher, with over six in ten willing to switch bank. And, among the 18-35-year olds, the willingness to switch is the highest (66%), followed by those with higher income (61%). Beyond this, a significant proportion (43%) would also be willing to pay extra to have the fingerprint feature on their card.

This differs across segments, with younger demographics wanting it to a higher degree (55%) and willing to pay for it (61%). Among the consumers that use their contactless cards regularly, 62% want it to be biometric and almost half would be willing to pay for it (49%).

Constraints of contactless

From our research, it is clear demand for biometric cards has only increased with the pandemic"

In the two countries included in the earlier survey, conducted ‘pre-Covid’ at the end of 2019, the interest in having a biometric payment card has since increased too, with around half of consumers now citing it as a preference in France (51%) and the UK (48%). 

“From our research, it is clear demand for biometric cards has only increased with the pandemic. Behaviours have shifted quickly and adoption of contactless cards has boomed, penetrating new markets and segments while also shining a spotlight on the current issues and constraints of contactless that have now become real consumer pain-points."

Offering biometric payment

"Banks have an opportunity to bring innovation to consumers’ favourite payment form factor. By offering biometric payment cards, banks can not only show they care for their existing customers, they can also attract new customers and create a potential new revenue stream,” Lina added.

Fingerprint Cards AB (Fingerprints) is one of the world’s leading biometrics company, with its roots in Sweden. They believe in a secure and seamless universe, where the users are the key to everything. The company’s solutions are found in hundreds of millions of devices and applications, and are used billions of times every day, providing safe and convenient identification and authentication with a human touch.

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