This article is part of a larger series on Payments.
Contactless payments are transactions made by tapping a contactless chip card, payment-enabled mobile device, QR code, or wearable device over a contactless-enabled payment terminal. Adoption of these payments happened rapidly at the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic, and now, in 2022, the contactless payment trend is here to stay.
Take a look at our contactless payments statistics below to better understand the modern payments landscape and incorporate these payment methods into your business.
Growth of Contactless Payments
1. From 2019 to 2020, there was a 150% increase in contactless payment transactions
According to American Express’ 2019 Digital Payments Survey, before the pandemic, only about a quarter of Americans had used a contactless payment method. At the same time, only 48% of retailers accepted contactless.
A study from Visa shows that contactless payments in the US rose substantially year over year—by 150%.
2. In 2021, over 80% of US consumers used contactless payments
In Raydiant’s State of Contactless Payments 2021 Report, it found that 80% of US consumers had used contactless payments. The usage of contactless payments, in Raydiant’s words, is “undoubtedly accelerating.”
3. The US now has the most contactless cards of any market in the world
There were some 175 million cards in circulation already by mid-2020, with nine of the top 10 US card companies actively rolling out new contactless cards.
4. The global contactless payment market is projected to nearly quadruple in value by 2026
This speedy adoption trend was not just found in the US. Research and Markets’ Contactless Payment Terminals Market – Growth, Trends, COVID-19 Impact, and Forecasts (2021 – 2026) report found that the global contactless payment terminals market was valued at $13.23 billion in 2020 and is expected to reach $51.07 billion by 2026. This would nearly quadruple the size of the global contactless market in the span of a few years.
5. 67% of US retailers offer shoppers some form of contactless payment
In 2021, over two-thirds of retailers accepted some form of contactless payment, including contactless cards that can be waved past or tapped on a card reader (58% of retailers offer this, compared to 40% in 2019) and digital wallet payments on mobile phones (56% compared to 44% in 2019). While adoption rates are not yet available for this year, it is reasonable to assume that the rate of contactless payment acceptance has risen.
Business Expectations Around Contactless Payments
6. 74% of retailers planned to continue using contactless payments post-pandemic
In a 2020 global study, Mastercard found that 74% of retailers around the world planned to continue to use contactless payments post-pandemic. The Faster Payments Council reinforces the idea that contactless payments are here to stay, noting that in 2021 most small businesses (92%) with brick-and-mortar locations accepted contactless payments.
7. 59% of small businesses are already cashless or plan to shift to using only digital payments in the next two years
In a 2022 survey of small businesses, Visa found that 59% of small businesses already use or plan to use exclusively digital payments by 2024. And, many consumers agree—41% say they are already cashless or plan to make the switch in the next two years.
8. 81% of merchants plan to make contactless payments a permanent option
More and more retailers are adopting contactless payment options, and it doesn’t look like this new payment method is going anywhere soon. More than 80% of merchants that currently offer contactless payments say they intend to make this a permanent option for their customers.
9. 73% of merchants prefer customers to use a contactless payment method
For reasons of cleanliness and convenience, 73% of retailers agree that, since the pandemic, they prefer customers to use a contactless payment method rather than swiping their cards or using a chip.
10. 73% of small businesses believe that new forms of digital payments are fundamental to their growth
A 2022 study from Visa found that 73% of small businesses believe that accepting forms of digital payments is important for the growth of their business. And, they would be right. When Visa asked consumers about top factors (outside of price) influencing their store purchasing choice, 36% answered “accept digital payments.”
11. 67% of retailers that don’t accept contactless payments cite higher costs as a top concern
When asked about their hesitations surrounding adopting contactless payments, 67% of retailers sa id the increased costs associated with using touchless payments, specifically processing fees, were a top concern. This fear, however, is misled.
The National Retail Federation (NRF) explains, “Banks charge merchants a fee averaging about 2.5% when a credit card is used to make a purchase in-person, and the fee is the same regardless of whether the card is inserted, tapped/waved, or used via a mobile device.”
Higher processing fees apply only to remote purchases, i.e., online purchases or transactions done over the phone.
Other concerns from retailers include:
- Cybersecurity and data privacy (65%)
- Increase in fraud (63%)
- Increase in chargebacks and disputed purchases (61%)
Consumer Sentiments & Behaviors
12. 70% of US merchants experience customers requesting contactless payment options
Consumer interest and merchant adoption of contactless payment go hand in hand. In 2020, 70% of US merchants said that they had experienced customers asking for contactless payment options. As a result, a third of merchants that did not previously offer contactless payment started considering it.
13. Convenience and speed are the top reasons that consumers prefer contactless
In a 2021 report from Amex, consumers were asked why they prefer contactless payments. Of the respondents, 73% cited convenience as the top reason and 54% cited the speed of money transfer.
14. 82% of consumers view contactless as the cleaner way to pay
A survey from Mastercard found that 82% of shoppers view contactless shopping as a cleaner way to do transactions. Further, a survey from Raydiant found that about 65% of consumers are somewhat or very worried about the cleanliness of paying with a credit card for in-store purchases.
15. 41% of consumers would not shop at a store that didn’t offer contactless payments
The 2022 Visa Back To Business study found that businesses exclusively offering payment methods that require contact with a cashier or shared machine like a card reader deter 41% of consumers.
16. 57% of consumers say they are more likely to do business with retailers that offer a contactless payment option
Whether it be for safety reasons or simply a matter of convenience, more than half of consumers (57%) said they were more likely to do business with retailers that offer contactless payments as opposed to one that does not.
17. Globally, 46% of consumers have swapped out their top-of-wallet card for one that offers contactless
A 2020 study by Mastercard found that for nearly half of global consumers, their default card has become their contactless one, whether that be physical or digital. Not only that, but this proportion rises for consumers under 35 years old, with 52% choosing their contactless card as their “top-of-wallet” payment option.
With older forms of payment losing popularity among consumers, it’s time to get your payments up to date. The first step is ensuring that you can accept credit cards. Learn more with our guide to accepting credit card payments.
18. Leading reasons for shoppers not choosing contactless are slow or failed experiences and security concerns
We know that cleanliness and convenience are the leading factors for choosing contactless, but what are the leading factors for not using contactless? According to Raydiant’s 2021 State of Contactless Payments Report, the top reasons that people avoid contactless are failed or slow experiences (40.1%) and security concerns (21.2%).
19. 80% of purchases using a contactless payment method are under $25
Another thing you might be wondering about is what people are buying when they are using contactless. Surprisingly enough, 80% of contactless purchases are for transactions under $25. This is a category of purchases typically associated with cash.
While contactless payments’ recent burst in popularity was brought on by the COVID-19 pandemic and subsequent calls for greater convenience and cleanliness, this technology isn’t going anywhere.
As we see above, retailers and consumers alike have come to prefer contactless payments and anticipate their continued use long after the pandemic is over. With these contactless payment statistics, you get a better understanding of the payments landscape and might even be ready to invest in contactless yourself.
Want to learn more about contactless payments and how they work? Check out our article on everything you need to know about contactless payments.