From click-and-collect to crypto, 5 ways people are changing how they shop and pay

May 4, 2021 | By Vicki Hyman

Your hairstylist who once insisted on cash now has an app for tips. The vendor at the local crafts fair texts you a code to pay for your macramé. And your landlord wonders if you can cover next month’s rent in crypto.

Do you even know where your checkbook is?

The constraints of the past year have challenged us in many ways, but they have also created opportunities for change, upending the way we shop and chipping away at calcified attitudes toward how, when and where we pay.

A new global consumer survey, conducted by The Harris Poll and Mastercard Global Foresights, Insights and Analytics, illustrates just how much has changed already. The New Payments Index, released Tuesday, reveals that in the past year, 63% of respondents have tried a new payment method that they would not have tried otherwise, including contactless, QR codes and biometric checkout, among others. They’ve also embraced new ways to shop, from “click and collect” pickup at stores to voice commerce.

The New Payments Index, which polled 15,569 respondents from 18 countries, found that 93% say they are more likely to try at least one of these emerging payment methods in the next year, with contactless payments being a popular option (68%), along with emerging interest in biometrics (41%) and cryptocurrencies (40%).

Here are five key insights that show how the landscape of payments and shopping is changing:

Time and touch are main motivators

Saving time is the top reason among all age groups for trying a new payment method (53%), followed by a desire to avoid cash (47%). What’s holding them back? Half of respondents say they won’t try new payments because of security concerns, with 45% citing concern about the protection of their personal information as a barrier.

Trust in emerging payments is catching up

Cash (68%) and chip cards (68%) are considered the most secure forms of payment among those in the survey, but digital money transfer services (64%)contactless cards (62%) and mobile wallets (59%) are close behind. Respondents in developing markets — many of which leapfrogged over earlier payment innovations straight to mobile money — are more likely than those in developed markets to consider a majority of digital payments secure.

Interest in new forms of payment isn't limited by age

Millennials are a very experimental age group, more willing than even Gen Z to try newer ways to pay, such as payment-enabled devices like smartwatches, mobile payments using SMS, and crypto. But even baby boomers have dabbled in emerging payments, with 34% using a digital money transfer service in the past year.

Crypto is coming up

Millennials are particularly intrigued by cryptocurrency as compared with other age groups. Six in 10 people overall say they are more open to using crypto than they were a year ago (58%), compared with seven in 10 millennials (67%).

Cash only? Catch you later

Many say a lack of payment options is a deal-breaker for them when shopping: Six in 10 respondents say they avoid merchants that don’t accept digital payments of any kind (59%).

Vicki Hyman, director, communications, Mastercard