BusinessDay

6 in 10 Nigerians open to crypto as payment – Mastercard report

About six out of ten Nigerians are open to using cryptocurrencies such as Bitcoin as payment in the next year, according to the latest results from Mastercard New Payment Index.

The index found that the adoption of digital payment channels has grown to an extent that 96 percent of Nigerian consumers will consider using at least one emerging payment method, such as cryptocurrency, biometrics, contactless, or QR code, in the next year.

More than two-thirds of the people who responded to a survey conducted by Mastercard say they have tried a new payment method which they would not have tried under normal circumstances.

The growing awareness is largely being driven by the COVID-19 pandemic which has amplified the benefits of digital payment channels including helping people realise they can get what they want and when they want without necessarily having to go anywhere. To buttress this, the survey showed that 81 percent of Nigerian consumers are more excited about shopping at retailers that offer the latest payment methods. Also, 78 percent of consumers say that digital payment methods help them save money.

“The pandemic made us think differently, partly out of necessity,” Craig Vosburg, Chief Product Officer at Mastercard, said. “To deliver the choice and flexibility that consumers need – and increasingly expect – retailers worldwide need to offer a range of payment solutions that are easy to access and always on. As we look ahead, we need to contribute to enabling all choices, both in-store and online, to shape the fabric of commerce and make the digital economy work for everyone.”

The growth of contactless technology was the catalyst for many people to explore new payment channels. Contactless technology ensured a fast, secure, and touch-free experience.

Between the first three months of 2020 and the same period in 2021, over 100 markets saw contactless as a share of total in-person transactions grew by at least 50 percent.

Mastercard says digital currencies and wallets, wearables, biometrics, contactless, and QR codes are in the front run as emerging payment technologies. This is because confidence in them is growing and the use of cash is also reducing. 86 percent Nigerian consumers have more ways to pay compared to this time last year.

Popularity for digital wallets has surged with 73 percent of Nigerian consumers indicating they would use wallets next year. 66 percent of shoppers even say that they feel safer storing their card information in one place such as a digital wallet.

“We continue to work with our merchants, fintechs, and banking partners to rapidly innovate payment options that meet consumer needs while ensuring we drive financial and digital inclusion,” Raghav Prasad, Division President, Mastercard, Sub-Saharan Africa.

With consumer interest around new payment technologies, the expectation for businesses to adapt for the long-term is here to stay. Over three in four Nigerian consumers (84%) say that they would shop at small businesses, if they offered more payment options, and 81% noted being more excited to shop at retailers that can offer the latest payment methods, and an equal proportion (81%) said they would be more loyal to retailers who offered multiple payment options.

This behavior shift is reinforced by the desire for consumer choice – with 89% saying that they expect to make purchases when they want and how they want. The businesses that can provide multiple ways to shop and pay are best positioned to meet these expectations. As the demand for emerging payments and choice continues, it requires a wider range of payment solutions, insights, and products to meet the accelerating enthusiasm for the future state of pay.