Asia Pacific leads digital wallet adoption

Asia Pacific leads the world when it comes to digital wallet usage via mobile and smart devices as revealed in the 2017 Mastercard Digital Payments study. Payments via ewallet tops 83% of APAC conversations compared to 75% of global conversations tracked in the 2017 study.

Consumers are also showing an increased interest in the application of new technologies to make shopping faster, easier and more secure. The topic of virtual reality generated the most positive sentiment globally and in Asia Pacific (100% positive) among emerging technology topics, as shoppers imagine completing a purchase with the simple nod of their head.

“Technology is making the promise and the potential of a less-cash life a reality for more people every day,” said Marcy Cohen, vice president of digital communications at Mastercard. “This year’s study notes a change in the level of interest for new ways to shop and pay that only a few years ago would have seemed farfetched.”

Embracing emerging technologies

The increased acceptance of digital wallets in-store, online and in-app generated more than 2 million mentions, with 84% of them taking place on Twitter. Beyond the payment, consumers looked forward to additional functionality like storing loyalty cards and supporting closed-loop public transportation systems.

Technologies like artificial intelligence and smart home assistants were the second most discussed payment topic throughout 2016. These new ways to pay generated particularly strong consumer interest in the fourth quarter, as people discussed how they might shop with newer, smarter devices.

In Asia Pacific, 93% of surveyed consumers spoke positive of wearables as a potential payment channel.

Smart assistants, virtual reality and artificial intelligence also emerged as new payment technology interests. Consumers across North America showed an increased interest throughout the year in the simplicity of sending and receiving mobile payments with one comment to a smart assistant.

The Internet of Things was a hot topic with the majority of conversations taking place in North America (44%) and Europe (34%). Discussion centered on the Internet of Things becoming the Internet of Payments where payments could be enabled in any connected device.

In their conversations, people continually noted that the success of new technologies and new ways to pay will be dependent on the security and protections delivered beyond what’s available today.

Forty-five percent of consumers in Asia Pacific are interested in biometrics and other forms of authentication to deliver enhanced security, reduce fraud and move beyond traditional passwords. Facial recognition, fingerprint and touch authentication topped 66% of conversations. The region appeared more open to these emerging technologies compared to the global average of 43% and 51% respectively.

The study also revealed frustration over activities involving the use of conventional passwords, including entering, forgetting and resetting passwords and expressed interested in getting rid of passwords altogether with easier, improved authentication.