The Great Bancontact Payment Survey 2017

The way we pay is at a tipping point. This is demonstrated in the first Great Bancontact Payment Survey, done in collaboration with research firm iVOX that did an online survey of 1,000 Belgians. The results indicate that almost 8 out of 10 younger Belgians scarcely have any cash on them anymore. And that in the last three years, we have started to use mobile payments far more often: 45% of smartphone users think it is a very practical payment method.

Cash is becoming less popular, particularly among young consumers. No fewer than 77% of 18- to 34-year-olds in our country say they have little or no cash on them. Half of all Belgians pay less with cash than three years ago. And nearly 3 out of 10 think there will be no more cash in ten years' time.

New forms of payment

Yes, when it comes to payments, Belgians are clearly still creatures of habit. One out of two Belgians practically always pays in the same way: 64% prefer the Bancontact card with pin as the favourite means of payment, and only 13% prefer cash.

But ‘new’ forms of payment, such as mobile or contactless payments, are making headway. 76% more often use a mobile app (with pin code) to pay. "These figures are only logical; we have our smartphone on us at all times and can thus leave an entire array of payment cards at home", says Nicolas Van Zeebroeck, professor of Innovation & Digital Business at the Brussels Solvay School. It comes as no surprise that half of all Belgians with a smartphone think mobile payments are ever so practical. The younger Belgians are, the more often they say so. "The young generations will change the way payments are made from the inside", predicts technology expert Peter Hinssen.

Security equals pin code?

For Belgians, security is still synonymous with the pin code, a step that mobile and contactless payments not always need. "The pin code is a control operation that gives you the feeling you have everything under control. The security mechanisms are no longer visible in the latest payment technologies - they are built in the system itself. This requires some psychological adjustment on the term of users, especially somewhat older ones", explains Van Zeebroeck.

Nevertheless, 46% of the people who use a payment app for mobile or contactless payments think it is just as safe as the 'conventional' payment methods. Their feeling is justifiable, technological experts underscore. “New payment technologies offer so many extra security options, that security is no longer a point", says Peter Hinssen.

How local players work hand in hand with innovation

In Belgium, Bancontact is at the vanguard of mobile innovation. So far, Bancontact has outpaced mobile attackers and technology in capturing new opportunities in its home market. It has proven it is a successful enabler for payment innovation by local banks.

"Our decision-making centre is here and we are working with a dynamic team, so requested changes can be made to our products rapidly and efficiently.  And the Belgian consumer always gets the optimal payment experience for the ideal shopping experience,” says Kim Van Esbroeck, CEO, Bancontact.

The growth of mobile payments is impressive: in 2016 Bancontact recorded 3.5 million transactions with its free app; this year there are already 1 million per month.

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