Contactless payments are getting popular in LatAm

Mastercard released a study showing that during the first quarter of 2020, consumers in LatAm turned to contactless payments.

Mastercard recently released a study showing that during the first quarter of 2020, an increasing number of consumers in Latin America and the Caribbean turned to contactless payments to make the most necessary purchases.

This increase occurs in a period when many countries imposed restrictions to maintain social distance.

According to the new Mastercard study, 35% of people in the region indicated that they increased the use of contactless payments. Users cited simplicity, safety, and hygiene as the main advantages.

Contactless payments are all payment methods that use radio frequencies to carry out the transaction, including debit and credit cards, cell phones that use user proximity, or even some initiatives promoted by governments, such as CoDi promoted by Banco de México.

Accelerated adoption of contactless payments in LatAm

The consumer survey conducted by Mastercard showed an accelerated trend towards the adoption of contactless payments. The results of the study carried out suggest that social distance and other security standards have influenced the consumer’s payment behavior.

Among the data obtained by the company, it stands out that:

  • 56% of Latin Americans mentioned being more aware of hygiene problems when handling cash.
  • 84% of Latin Americans believe that contactless payment is more hygienic.

The pandemic has been a clear factor that has changed consumption habits, including payment methods. The results have been striking in a region that has been characterized by its resistance to bank penetration. In the region, 66% of consumers use cashless frequently or do not use it at all. Since the coronavirus was declared a pandemic, 77% of Brazilians use less cash or do not use it at all, while 61% of Colombians said they are using less cash, according to data from the Mastercard. In Costa Rica, 7 out of 10 respondents also claimed to avoid cash, while the percentage of Dominicans who prefer contactless methods is now 58%.

The Mastercard study suggests that this change in habit will not be temporary. 78% of Latin Americans indicated that they will continue to use contactless payments even after the pandemic ends. This conviction is even greater among those under the age of 35, where 82% assured that they will continue with this type of payments, even after the health contingency passes.

Walter Pimenta, Senior Vice President of Products and Innovation, Mastercard for Latin America and the Caribbean, highlighted one of the peculiarities of this pandemic and gave a credible explanation for the adoption of contactless payment methods.

“As we experience the first global pandemic in an era defined by the digitization of our lives, contactless card payments have taken on a new urgency. It has been encouraging and rewarding to see our partners across the LAC region embrace the change and acceleration of contactless technology. The technology is available, and it is clear that the change we are witnessing in consumer behavior is here to stay, “said the executive.