Consumers crave more digital services, new study finds

a young man and woman sitting on a stone bench in the rain looking at a smartphone

Nine out of ten consumers use their smartphones more than any other device, and consumers would also prefer to use biometrics over PINs – with fingerprints being the preferred method, according to a new Mastercard survey.

The focus on biometric authentication has been increasing in recent times, with the likes of Visa’s own study finding that consumers are nearly twice as likely to trust banks to store and keep their biometric information safe (60%), than they are to trust government agencies (33%).



Master card’s survey, which gathered data from internet users with bank accounts between the age of 20-50 in Mastercard’s 4 global regions, found that in Western Europe, PINs are falling behind with only 30% of people trusting the four-digit codes compared to 38% who trust biometrics.

This preference is even more pronounced in the Middle East region where people do not generally trust PIN codes for payment (24%), instead preferring fingerprints (32%) and SMS codes (36%).


Mobile Payments

In terms of willingness to pay using mobiles, it is Africa and the Middle East regions that are leading the pack. There, over 70% said they were ready to pay with their smartphones, whilst Western Europe is proving more difficult to crack with only two-fifths (38%) interested in the method. However, Sweden stands out wither 70% of people being ready to pay with smartphones.

In fact, Western Europe has the largest ratio of those resistant to digital change (17%), while Central and Eastern European countries and those in the Middle East and Africa have the highest number who actively embrace new technology. MasterCard says this is because countries that live in less technologically developed countries tend to be more enthusiastic about digital adoption than in markets where it’s more readily available.

“The research commissioned by Mastercard is quite unique since it provides a deep dive into the digital transformation of society. It shows that developing regions tend to be more optimistic when it comes to the potential for digital technologies to help improve their lives,” says Dr Carsten Sorensen, Reader (Associate Professor) in Digital Innovation at The London School of Economics and Political Science (LSE).

“This is natural, as people in highly developed countries already have access to state-of-the-art technologies and therefore may not associate technology with improving their lives, or they may already have seen some of the potential negative effects,” he added.


Consumer priorities

The survey said that consumers’ number one priority when it comes to digital payments is bank account security, closely followed by security of their personal data.

Eight out of ten respondents said that markets such as social media, shopping and financial services have enough innovation and want more digital innovation in healthcare, public education and public transport.

92% of consumers across regions think digital innovations are a good thing, and have a positive outlook on the future of technology. Only 8% of people say they think digital innovations are having a negative impact.

“In previous years many consumers told us they had a negative or neutral view of digital innovation. But this study shows a major global shift in consumer behaviour. People across many diverse countries want a digital lifestyle and think it brings benefits to their lives. It’s important we listen to consumers about the types of innovation they want to see more of – but it’s extremely exciting to see the pace and appetite for change” said Ann Cairns, President, International Markets at Mastercard.

Related reading