New 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.

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

Over 77% of respondents surveyed agree they have tried a new payment method they would not have tried under normal circumstances. However, the pandemic has galvanized people to try new payment options to get what they want conveniently.

The survey also showed that 88% of Kenyan consumers say they are more excited about shopping at retailers who offer the latest payment methods. Additionally, 81% Kenyan consumers say that digital payment methods help them save money.

“The pandemic made us think differently, partly out of necessity. 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,” said Craig Vosburg, Chief Product Officer at Mastercard.

Contactless technology was 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%.

A year into the COVID-19 pandemic, contactless is showing its 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. All signs point to a continued growth path for contactless, with nearly 7 in 10 consumers globally anticipating using a contactless card this year.

“The world as we now know it has changed dramatically since the outbreak of the pandemic, 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,” said Raghav Prasad, Division President, Mastercard, Sub-Saharan Africa.

Key highlights from the report

1. Cryptocurrency1 Gains Ground – Today consumers can buy, sell, and trade cryptocurrency as a commodity or investment. Consumers are also increasingly showing interest in being able to spend crypto assets for everyday purchases. As global interest in digital currencies continues to accelerate, 4 in 10 people in Kenya say they plan to use cryptocurrency in the next year, with more than 69% noting they are more open to using it than they were a year ago.

2. Biometric Payments are More Trustworthy – Perceptions of safety and convenience have been front and center for people over the past year. 42% of Kenyan consumers say they plan to use biometric verification methods like gait or walk assessments and fingerprint authorization. 69% feel safer using biometrics to verify a purchase than entering a pin.

3. QR Codes are Cleaner and More Convenient – Growing markets are leveraging QR-based options as a clean and convenient way to interact with merchants. Consumer desire for clean and convenient ways to pay will remain post-pandemic. 54% of people in Kenya expect to use more payment technologies like QR codes in the next year. Consumers also find that that QR codes are cleaner (85%) and more convenient (83%) for in-person payments and have a significant potential to reduce cost of payment acceptance and increase financial inclusion.

4. Digital Wallets Surge in Popularity – Kenya is seeing a surge in the popularity of digital wallets. 77% of Kenyan consumers said they were likely to use digital wallets next year. 67% of shoppers even say that they feel safer storing their card information in one place such as a digital wallet.

As the demand for emerging payments and choice continues, it requires a wider range of payment solutions, insights, and products to meet the accelerating enthusiasm for the future state of pay.