Consumers do not want to use plastic money, and are enthusiastic about innovation. Technology and globalization are propelling a huge shift in consumer behavior. Consumers demand more digitalization in all areas of their life while protecting security and privacy, a Mastercard study found. Coincidentally, this phenomenon converges with the increasing use of the cryptocurrency Bitcoin and the positive outlook that consumers now have on innovation.
Consumers Reject Plastic Cards
Recognizing technology’s pervasive impact, Mastercard studied consumers’ perceptions of digitization and its consequences.
The “Mastercard Impact of Innovation study,” by IPSOS Research, collected and analyzed data from 23,000 consumers in 23 countries throughout Africa, the Middle East, and Europe. The study focused on personal preferences in using digital technologies for payment, as well as payment authentication methods.
One of the study’s major findings was consumers all over the world want new ways to pay, preferably using smartphones.
Moreover, consumers are asking for more digital services in all areas, including healthcare, public education, and transport.
Specifically, the study found that ”while in Africa and the Middle East over 70% said they were ready to pay with their smartphones, Western Europeans have some way to go – only two-fifths (38%) said so. However, when asked about new ways to pay, consumers across all regions chose their smartphone as an alternative to the plastic card.”
According to a Mastercard press release, Ann Cairns, President, International Markets at Mastercard, said: “Our study launched during the Mastercard Customer Innovation Forum in Budapest confirms that not only is there a huge appetite for new ways to pay, but consumers overwhelmingly want to use their smartphones. In fact, many are ready to do so right now. For decades, plastic cards have been the only reasonable alternative to cash – but consumers are saying loud and clear that they want digital innovations in all areas of life.”
The Mastercard study also highlighted that consumers demand better security and personal data privacy. Consumers also want to have simpler and faster payment systems.
Bitcoin Poised to Satisfy Consumers’ Demands
Consumers want new payment systems be safe, simple, and fast, while preserving privacy. These are precisely the virtues Bitcoin offers. Additionally, Bitcoin allows users to execute frictionless and borderless transactions.
Furthermore, Bitcoin technology is well-suited to near-field communication (NFC) technology. NFC comprises protocols that use electromagnetic waves allowing two electronic devices, one of them usually a smartphone, to communicate by placing them within about 4cm of each other.
Thus, consumers can wave a smartphone in front of an NFC compatible device to make a payment. There is no need for the smartphone to physically touch the device.
With Bitcoin, technology to satisfy consumers’ digital needs, and a simpler contactless payment method, is already a reality. For example, Shake Lab. Inc. already provides an alternative to plastic cards with its Android application, with mobile tap-and-pay functionality. “With the Shake Android app you can add funds in bitcoin, tap and pay at store terminals, and view card details for online purchases,” Shakepay said.
Moreover, Plutus.it has already successfully tested its Android app, also featuring tap-and-pay with bitcoin. Plutus.it plans to launch its app by the end of 2016.
As the Mastercard study showed, consumers are optimistic about the effects of digitalization and crave more innovation in their lives. To satisfy them, business leaders must listen to consumers and rise to that challenge. Fortuitously, Bitcoin exists to help satisfy consumers’ demands, and to create previously unimaginable new business solutions.
What do you think about getting rid of plastic cards and cash and alternatively using tap & pay apps with bitcoins to pay? Let us know in the comments below!
Images courtesy of Shutterstock and Mastercard.