A study carried out by financial services group Visa this year on consumers’ preferences and emerging trends in Hong Kong, Macau and Taiwan indicated that Macau users had the highest preference among the three regions for mobile QR payments.
According to the study, 70 per cent of Macau respondents named mobile QR payments as their preferred method of payment, followed by stored value cards with 14 per cent and with only 11 per cent preferring contactless cards or mobile payments.
The report underlined that the use of mobile QR payments as their preferred method of payment has increased in Macau significantly from 45 per cent in 2020 to 70 per cent in 2021.
Contactless card or mobile payments were the preferred methods of payment last year in Hong Kong and Taiwan, at 46 and 51 per cent, respectively.
“Hong Kong and Macau are making great strides in striving to a cashless society especially after the government’s efforts in smart city and digital payment, “the General Manager, Visa Hong Kong and Macau, Maaike Steinebach, said in the Visa announcement of the study.
“We are delighted to see that not only consumers but also more merchants and businesses are embracing cashless payment. We see this as an irreversible trend”
Some 40 per cent of respondents from both Hong Kong and Macau also stated they expected their cities to become a ‘cashless society’ within the next four years, with at least one-third of consumers saying they expected to increase their use of cashless in the next 12 months, citing reasons for appealing rewards and discounts, hygiene factor and speed of transaction as the main drivers.
Macau also showed shows the largest increase in consumers who stated they were more willing to go cashless on smaller amounts of transactions as low as HK$100, with that percentage going from 27 per cent in 2019 to 67 per cent in 2021.
Mobile payment transactions volume reached MOP12.7 billion (US$1.5 billion) in the first three quarters of 2021, triple the amount reported in the same period last year and already double the amount registered for the whole of 2020, data provided by the Monetary Authority of Macau (AMCM) reveals.
The volume of local mobile payment transactions has increased exponentially since the pandemic outbreak at the beginning of last year, with several merchants transferring their businesses online and as repeated government economy stimulus rounds – including consumer e-couchers – required the use of mobile payment terminals.
“As for Macau, the biggest influencers is the speed of cashless transactions. Across the three markets, the growing acceptance of cashless methods in the market coupled with the eroding habit of carrying physical cash around are major factors contributing to the potential increase in cashless usage,” the Visa study noted.
According to the Visa study, while less than one-third of Hong Kong (28 per cent) and Macau (22 per cent) consumers considered mobile payment a safe option in 2020, that number had improved significantly over the past year with at least 60 per cent of them now believing that their personal information is ‘very or somewhat safe’.
Of the three regions, Macau also showed the lowest level of awareness for virtual banking services, with only three out of 10 consumers saying they were aware of such services, while more than 80 per cent of consumers in Hong Kong and Taiwan were aware of these services.
More than half of consumers in Hong Kong, Macau and Taiwan also stated they should be the main custodian of their personal and financial data, instead of either the banks or the government.
The methodology for this study was quantitative, with data collection in August 2021.
For Hong Kong and Taiwan, the surveys were done using online access panels, while in Macau Interviews were conducted face-to-face. A total of 700 people in Hong Kong, 300 in Macau and 1,000 in Taiwan responded the survey.