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Contactless payments exceed manual payment for first time

Contactless payments by smartphone have become increasingly popular. Credit: Belga

The popularity of contactless payments, either by card or by smartphone using a mobile payment solution, has increased rapidly since the start of the pandemic.

For the first time ever, contactless payments by card in shops in Belgium have overtaken the number of traditional payments that require people to insert their card and manually enter their PIN code, as for 50.8% of all Bancontact payments in shops, the card was tapped against the terminal.

Meanwhile, 86% of all Bancontact cards are now equipped with the contactless payment function. The coronavirus crisis resulted in this becoming the preferred option as it is considered a more hygienic way of paying for purchases, according to the Bancontact Payconiq Company.

These figures were confirmed in a survey by the Vrije Universiteit Brussel (VUB) earlier this year, which found that the increase in contactless payments is most striking when it comes to people between the ages of 65 and 74, as around 76% of people in this age group made at least one contactless payment in 2020, compared to 36% in 2019.

Smartphone payments gaining ground

The use of smartphones as a method of payment has gained even more ground as the coronavirus crisis continues, as people living in Belgium made as many mobile contactless payments between January and August of this year as they did during the entirety of 2020.

“In the ‘coronavirus year’ of 2020, the smartphone was already well established as a means of payment, but this year the figures are even stronger,” the company said.

According to Bancontact Payconiq Company, the method of payment was used around 125 million times, which equates to a growth of 69% compared to last year.

In August alone, people used their smartphones for payments around 18 million times, while they tapped their phone on a card machine in shops to use the Payconiq by Bancontact app or a banking app that has integrated the mobile payment solutions around 1 million times, an almost threefold increase compared to February 2020, before the pandemic.

“Especially online, the dominance of the smartphone is striking,” as around three in four of all online purchases made in Belgium in August were made via the payment solution on mobile phones.

The Brussels Times

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