Indians embrace e-payments, but prefer security to discounts


Indians are among the most receptive to new digital payment methods in Asia-Pacific, with 93% of consumers likely to have used at least one digital payment method in the past year, a new survey commissioned by Mastercard has found.

Only the Chinese fared better (98%), according to the March-April survey of 7,004 adults evenly spread across seven markets.

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In India, digital wallets were the preferred payment method, with 58% reporting having used them at least once in the previous year. Usage was even higher among the affluent (64%) and millennials (63%).

Among Indians, other emerging methods such as QR codes and digital money transfer apps also accounted for over 50%. Cash was the third most popular method with 51% acceptance, while other traditional payment methods such as personal credit, debit or prepaid cards or contactless cards accounted for less than a third.

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Respondents could select multiple options.

The survey had 52% male and 48% female respondents. In terms of age group, it comprised 37% Gen Z (ages 18-25), 48% Millennials (ages 26-43), and the rest older. The results of the survey – “Global New Payments Index” – have been shared exclusively with Mint.

Indian consumers shop in a variety of ways, with a range of digital shopping activities at play. But shopping on an online marketplace tops the charts, with 56% of respondents saying they did so through a digital payment tool.

Almost half (48%) said they bought something through a mobile app, while around 55% said they used a retailer-specific payment tool such as loyalty points or credit.

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Overall, 91% of respondents had made at least one digital purchase in the six months prior to the survey.

But security is of paramount importance to consumers, far more than the reward points and freebies they can receive for purchases. While 42% of respondents prioritize security when choosing a payment method, only 32% prioritize the best rewards and 25% prioritize discounts and promotions. Millennials are more likely to seek rewards (37%).

Overall, 39% care about usability, with a higher proportion (45%) among Generation X (people aged 44-57).

Low interest rates and access to airport lounges affect only 15% and 11% respectively when looking for the right payment method.

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Despite increasing digital acceptance, cash is still seen as a “very” or “fairly” secure payment method, with 76% believing this, with an even larger proportion (82%) found among older users (44-57 years old). However, the emerging digital payments are moving head-to-head. Paying with a QR code is considered as safe as cash, with 76% agreeing it, while 73% see the digital money transfer service as a secure method. Among millennials, 76% consider swiping a card safe.

Around 59% believe tapping into a solvent wearable technology device is “very” or “somewhat” secure, and 54% consider paying with cryptocurrency to be a secure payment method — the bottom of the options given in the survey.

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