Eighty-two per cent of UAE consumers prefer to pay in a contactless manner due to safety and hygiene concerns amid the global coronavirus pandemic, according to Mastercard.
Seventy-one per cent of UAE respondents and 79 per cent of those polled worldwide said they now use contactless payments, according to a survey of 17,000 consumers in 19 countries.
“Contactless is already quite prevalent in the UAE, though conditions resulting from this pandemic are advancing consumer adoption further,” said Girish Nanda, Mastercard general manager for UAE and Oman. “UAE shoppers are increasingly recognising contactless as a safer, more hygienic, faster way to pay, especially since control over physical proximity is critical at that moment.”
The pace of contactless payment adoption has accelerated worldwide as people follow physical distancing measures to prevent the spread of the virus.
The percentage of contactless payments in the Emirates as a proportion of all face-to-face card payments doubled in the first quarter compared to the same period last year, according to Mastercard data.
Globally, contactless transactions grew 40 per cent in the first quarter year-on-year.
The global contactless payment market is expected to grow 75 per cent to $18 billion (Dh66.1bn) by 2025 from this year, according to a March report from researcher MarketsandMarkets.
Contactless payments enable consumers to wave their cards or mobile devices over a reader at the point-of-sale terminal. Transactions below the cardholder verification method (CVM) limit do not require a physical PIN entry.
In March, Mastercard said it would increase the CVM limits in more than 50 countries worldwide, including the UAE, where the limit was raised to Dh500.
The new Mastercard poll, conducted April 10-12, found that 73 per cent of the 1,000 consumers in the UAE surveyed have swapped their top-of-wallet card for one that offers contactless. Eighty-four per cent agreed that contactless is a cleaner way to pay, while 85 per cent think it is more convenient than cash.
Contactless payments are up to 10 times faster than other in-person payment methods, Mastercard said. About 78 per cent of UAE respondents said contactless payment methods have been easy to adopt.
Three in four UAE respondents said the pandemic has led them to use less cash. The trend appears to be “here to stay”, according to Mastercard, as 83 per cent of people said they will continue to use contactless after the pandemic.