Australia leads the way for contactless ownership and usage

RFi Group Global Payments Evaluation Study
LEADERS: Australia lead in RFi Group’s Global Payments Evaluation Study. Click to enlarge.

Two thirds of Australians are now aware they own a contactless payment card and 53% have made a contactless transaction, research released by RFi Group has revealed, taking the country to the top of a leaderboard for both contactless awareness and usage rates.

The ‘Global Payments Evaluation Study’, based on 32,000 respondents in 16 countries, found Singapore to be the second largest market with 54% owning a contactless card and 45% having made a purchase using one. Taiwan came in third place, with 41% of its population now having used their contactless card to pay, and 37% of Canadians have also paid using contactless, compared to 29% a year previously.

New Zealand registered the highest growth in contactless card ownership and usage compared to 2014, reaching 52% from 34% and 35% from 18% respectively. The US is currently the western country with the lowest penetration, with just 14% of Americans owning a contactless card, up from about 10% in 2014, and 9% have used their contactless cards to make a payment.

Furthermore, 60% of contactless card users use their cards at least once per week, up from 43% in 2014, and, while contactless card ownership is low in the United Arab Emirates (7%), users have one of the highest propensities to use their card at least once a week, 64% against 60% for the global average.

Likewise, while the US has one of the lowest rates of contactless usage, 80% make a contactless purchase at least once a week.

According to the research, 37% of contactless users would also be open to trying new payment methods compared to 24% of non-contactless users. This trend is apparent in all countries surveyed, with China (65%) and the US (52%) leading the way.

Some 34% of contactless card users have used a digital wallet at least once, compared to 16% of non-contactless card users. PayPal is the most popular digital wallet globally with China being the only country where it does not hold the largest market share, with 92% of users indicating that they have used Alipay, compared to 47% who have used PayPal. In the US, 16% of digital wallet users have used Apple Pay.

Consumers in Indonesia (49%), the UAE (46%) and China (45%) are the most likely to consider the concept of a digital wallet appealing. Non-digital wallet users in Australia, New Zealand, the UK, US and Canada are the least likely to consider them appealing, with the level of appeal in these countries at about 14% lower than the global average.

“When we look at the pace with which payments markets are evolving around the world and the rapid innovation occurring in mobile and digital payments, it is easy to forget about the barriers that exist to halt evolutionary progress,” says author of the report and managing director at RFi Group Alan Shields.

“We have long known that the key factors to payments uptake are security, convenience and speed, but for the sceptics there are significant hurdles in the form of understanding and need which have to be overcome.”

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