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  • NETMEDIA International

Contactless payment keeps on gaining ground

French consumers, like their European counterparts, are increasingly avoiding paying in cash in favour of bank cards. The new channels, for their part, are still marginal.

While France traditionally had little recourse to cash payments before the start of the health crisis, French consumers were keen on contactless payment, according to a study carried out by GfK for Visa. In fact, 77% of French people prefer to pay in cash at the sales point, compared to 86% of Italians and 83% of Spanish and Portuguese. Almost a year after the start of the Covid-19 crisis, cash payments have fallen by 34%, while contactless payments have risen by 42%. Payment by bank card is also increasing, by 34%. A trend confirmed by the Banque de France, which stated last September that the credit card remained the most used means of payment in terms of the number of transactions (58%).

"In France, Covid-19 has transformed purchasing habits, and in particular payment habits, in line with new needs: the growth of digital technology, and in particular contactless payment, which we have observed, can be seen as a strong signal of the importance that consumers attach to security and convenience," explains François le Gunehec, head of research at GfK France. Today, we are also seeing that consumers expect brands to take on a broader mission, proving that their interests are not just commercial, but that they are willing to play their role in contributing to the wider community".

Mobile payment still to be expanded

The increasing use of contactless payment is also seen in situations that are usually conducive to cash payment, such as car parking or public transport. A trend resulting from the increasing uptake of open payment in municipal public transport networks.

Regarding digital wallets, uptake remains limited and does not exceed 8% online and 2% in shops. Similarly, mobile payment currently only involves 6% of consumers.

Based on the study carried out by GfK and Visa, payments of more than 100 euros made by bank card have increased by 24% in France, compared to an average of 17% for all the countries surveyed. Moreover, one consumer out of three believes that he or she will reduce the use of cash for these transactions. The same is true for payments of less than €20: 22% of consumers in all countries believe that they will use a means other than cash. As expected, the consumers surveyed are in favour of increasing the contactless payment limit (to 66%) on a permanent basis. However, the infatuation with mobile payment suggested by the study (34% of respondents want to pay for everything via their smartphone) contradicts the very low current use of this medium.

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