How We Pay in Europe: a look to the future

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New data from Worldpay, which surveyed 4,000 shoppers in Europe, shows the continent is becoming more tech-savvy and a keen adopter of new payment technology. 

European fintech is having a strong 2016, all things considered. In fact, the continent has been home to more investment deals (230) than the whole of Asia-Pacific region and is making more contactless payments than ever before. It is also becoming adroit at interacting with new payment methods as the recent Alipay-Ingenico partnership shows.

These examples provide a useful context for the recent Worldpay survey of 4,000 European shoppers’ habits and payment predictions.


2021 payments

The study found that 52% of respondents across the continent expect to be paying with mobile phones in 2021, through services such as Apple, Samsung and Android Pay. A similar majority (51%) believe mobile wallets such as PayPal and the aforementioned Alipay will be a dominant payment method.

Four out of ten (37%) see biometrics taking the next step and becoming a payment method, although the report does not elaborate on the specifics. In Germany, biometrics strikes a chord in particular as over 40% of respondents from the country believe the technology will be used to pay for goods, whilst in France, a third believe the same.

Virtual reality is gaining traction as two out of ten people expect to make payments using this technology. Alibaba and Samsung are already actively exploring the field.

Surprisingly, smartwatches do not seem to be resonating with Europeans as only 18% plan to make payments using them. In France, just one in ten use portable tech.

Bitcoin, which has recently seen its spotlight hogged by the technology underpinning it, and other alternative currencies also have a questionable future with only 17% expecting to make payments using the tech.

Cash, as ever, polarises. Whereas in the UK, contactless is king, in Germany, cash is unsurprisingly still the boss with a staggering 97% of respondents saying they use cash to pay in-store. Only three percent say they never use cash. In France also a relatively low number of people (17%) never pay in cash.

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Source: Worldpay

Mobile wallets

The predicted popularity of mobile wallets is reflected on country level where the likes of Germany and France especially believe the future is bright for the likes of PayPal and Alipay. In France, Worldpay found that respondents expected the number of payments made via the method to double by 2021 and actually overtake smartphone payment services such as Apple Pay and Samsung Pay. Four out of ten actually want to use mobile wallets for in-store transactions, and the number of people in Germany is the same.


Most important payment factors

No prizes for what European shoppers deemed to be the most important factor. Seven out of ten respondents said that ease of payments is the most important factor to consider when deciding which payment method to use. Security came a close second (68%), whilst speed, ironically, came last with just 36%.



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