Couple shopping online using a credit card


One thing can be said in any case after two years of a pandemic: The world as we knew it no longer exists. The corona measures not only introduced new social customs but also massively advanced digitization. In addition to home-schooling, remote working, and online shopping, our payment behavior, with the help of credit cards like the Regalia credit card, has also become increasingly digital.

“The pandemic has massively accelerated the trend towards card payments,” confirms Petia Niederländer, Director of the Payments, Risk Monitoring, and Financial Education Department. Although cash is still considered the most popular means of payment with 66 percent of all transactions at the point of sale, cash use has declined by 13 percent over the past two years compared to 2019. At the same time, the number of transactions with debit cards at the point of sale rose massively from ten to 27 percent. In particular, the proportion of contactless debit card payments without PIN entry rose by 16 percent, which is due, among other things, to the increased hygiene regulations in supermarkets and shops.

Mobile payment on the rise

Less often, however, people seem to use their credit cards at the point of sale: Only two percent of payments were processed via Mastercard, Visa, and Co. At 0.7 percent, transactions via mobile payment options are also of little importance at present. And this is even though there are now more than 300 different providers of mobile payments worldwide. “However, only Apple Pay, Fitbit Pay, Garmin Pay, SwatchPay, Bluecode, and Bitpanda Payments are allowed,” says the expert. Due to its convenient and fast handling, the mobile payment system convinces more and more people, but “users should inform themselves exactly about the data security of the respective providers,” recommends Dutchmen.


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People prefer PayPal and Klarna

The fact that online retail and thus also online payments have gone through the roof since 2019 gives an idea of where the journey will continue to go in the coming years. The proportionately most common means of payment for online transactions in 2020 were transfers with 31 percent and Internet payment methods with 25 percent. Around one-fifth (15 percent) of online transactions were processed with credit cards, followed by direct debit (eleven percent). The payment providers Pay-Pal and Klarna are particularly popular. “We assume that online processes and stationary processes will merge in the future. The World Payments Report 2021 shows that retailers are increasingly combining their experience in online purchasing with experience in brick-and-mortar retail. As a result, the demand for ‘payments apps’ and digital wallets that support these processes is also increasing,” says the financial expert.

Possible additional costs

Nevertheless, companies still too rarely deal with the optimization of their current payment range. “For retailers, the decisive question is how many consumers use the offered means of payment. However, it should be noted that payment methods can often lead to lock-in effects for the merchant and this causes additional costs in the long term,” warns the expert. In addition to network effects and costs, data protection and security or resilience are other characteristics that should be taken into account when choosing the means of payment. Instant payments (real-time payments) are regarded as a secure, sustainable, and cost-efficient digital means of payment. It is expected that by 2025, around 25 percent of all payments will be made with instant payments.

Cash will continue to accompany us

Another way of payment are cryptocurrencies. Whether Bitcoin, Ethereum, or Dogecoin – crypto money is now accepted by more and more companies and is even considered an official means of payment in El Salvador, for example. In this country, however, Bitcoins and Co. have not yet arrived in everyday life.

In summary, the focus on digital payments will remain after the pandemic. However, cash will remain a big player in everyday life: “More than two-thirds cannot imagine a world without cash.”


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