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New Zealand Consumers Ahead In Digital Payments Uptake

New Zealand Consumers Ahead in Digital Payments Uptake: New Mastercard Research Finds Institutional Support and Buy-in Key to Even Greater Adoption

Account to account transfers, digital credit and debit cards are the most popular digital payment methods. Greater focus needed on building trust in new technologies amidst continued global uncertainty

Consumers in New Zealand are among the most enthusiastic adopters of digital payments in the world, with 86 percent having used technologies like digital wallets, QR codes, Buy Now Pay Later (BNPL), cryptocurrencies, biometrics and others in the last year. What’s more, 49 percent of Kiwi consumers increased their usage of at least one digital payment method during the same period.

The latest data on payment habits, attitudes and preferences was published today in Mastercard’s second annual New Payments Index (NPI), a global consumer survey spanning 40 markets across five regions, including seven in APAC: New Zealand, Australia, China, India, Japan, Thailand and Vietnam.

While the COVID-19 pandemic was the catalyst for the unprecedented, rapid uptake of digital payments, the latest research indicates that the change has been lasting, with 48 percent of survey respondents in New Zealand cutting back on their use of cash payments in the last year. Despite this swing to digital forms of payment, respondents frequently indicated that they had reservations about the security and institutional backing of these new options. In fact, when deciding which payment method to use, security had the greatest influence on consumer choice (with 56 percent of New Zealand consumers saying it influences their choice, beating out ease of use (48%), discounts/promotions (30%), rewards (35%) and even low interest rates (22%).

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Ruth Riviere, Country Manager, New Zealand and Pacific Islands at Mastercard, said, “New Zealanders are embracing new ways to pay, and this research highlights the desire for further innovation in the payments space. The research has also reinforced the importance of building trust with consumers to support the adoption of new technology. Mastercard is focused on providing Kiwis with the ability to pay when, where and how they like by offering safe, secure and seamless payment options.”

Notably, the New Zealand report also revealed:

BNPL awareness is high while comfort is low; institutional offerings preferred

Amongst consumers in New Zealand, 39 percent say they are comfortable using BNPL today. This compares to 41 percent of consumers globally and 50 percent across the Asia Pacific region. Consumers in New Zealand are drawn to BNPL offerings for their low/no interest payments and to help budget for purchases. Looking ahead, 43 percent in New Zealand say they are likely to use BNPL in the next year. At the same time, building trust and comfort is key as Kiwi consumers feel safer using BNPL solutions backed by a major payment network (58 percent) or their existing bank (51 percent), rather than from other providers.

Broad awareness but relatively low knowledge of new digital currencies and assets

The majority of consumers in New Zealand have heard of cryptocurrencies, non-fungible tokens (NFTs) and other digital assets—but uptake has been gradual. For now, the focus is on investment. Among Kiwi consumers, 17 percent (rising to 31 percent of Kiwi millennials) report holding crypto as an investment during the past year, while future use cases that are popular among respondents include using crypto to redeem rewards, invest and hold in an interest earning account. Regarding the latter, more than one in three respondents (35 percent) want increased flexibility to use crypto for everyday payments.

Biometrics unbeatable for convenience and security, but privacy worries remain

There’s broad recognition among consumers that using biometric identification, such as fingerprint or facial recognition, is easier than remembering PINs or passwords (60 percent), and more secure for identity than these traditional methods of verification (59 percent). At the same time, only 37 percent of respondents in New Zealand felt comfortable sharing their biometric data to save time, while 72 percent were concerned about which entities would have access to this data. Thirty-one percent of consumers used biometrics for at least one task in the last year, suggesting there is untapped potential if providers are able to properly address consumers’ misgivings about privacy.


About the Research

Mastercard’s New Payments Index analyzes consumers’ evolving attitudes, preferences, and behaviors around emerging payment methods and uncovers insight into their motivations and considerations when it comes to digital payment adoption. The 2022 New Payments Index research was conducted by The Harris Poll and Mastercard from March 21 to April 19, 2022, surveying 35,040 respondents in 40 markets, including 7,004 respondents across seven markets in APAC: Australia, China, India, Japan, New Zealand, Thailand and Vietnam.

About Mastercard (NYSE:MA) 
Mastercard is a global technology company in the payments industry. Our mission is to connect and power an inclusive, digital economy that benefits everyone, everywhere by making transactions safe, simple, smart and accessible. Using secure data and networks, partnerships and passion, our innovations and solutions help individuals, financial institutions, governments and businesses realize their greatest potential. Our decency quotient, or DQ, drives our culture and everything we do inside and outside of our company. With connections across more than 210 countries and territories, we are building a sustainable world that unlocks priceless possibilities for all.

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