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Mastercard Study: African consumers are hungry for more digital services

Study assesses attitude towards digitalisation in Egypt, South Africa and Kenya

Budapest, Hungary – September 27, 2016 African consumers use their smartphone more than any other device. This is according to the findings from the Mastercard Impact of Innovation study[i], released on the sidelines of the Mastercard Innovation Forum 2016, which opened today in Budapest, Hungary with the participation of more than 500 attendees from Middle East and Africa, Central East Europe, Russia, Turkey and Ukraine.

A total of 23,000 consumers in 23 countries across Europe, Africa and the Middle East were surveyed about their attitudes towards digital technology. The study gathered data from over 1,000 internet users with bank accounts between the ages of 20 and 50 in each of the three African markets surveyed- Egypt, South Africa and Kenya.

The findings highlighted a common thread, indicating that African consumers have a positive attitude towards digitilisation and its impact on society.

In Kenya, the survey found that preference for mobile payments remains very high at 87% with 95% of Kenyans using their smartphone as their primary device. What was interesting to note is that 86% of Kenyans believe that digital tools will be used more often by people. They are also of the belief that digital innovation will be fundamental for public transport, healthcare and education in the future.

For South Africans on the other hand, it was reported that 95% of its citizens use their smartphone more than any other device. It also found that 73% of those surveyed were ready to pay with their mobile phone. Significantly, more than half of South African respondents said they would prefer to authenticate themselves with a fingerprint rather than a PIN when paying with a bank card. Although a low ratio claimed to use biometric authentication, more than two thirds consider these methods to be a safe way to make purchases.

Similarly in Egypt, two-thirds of those surveyed would rather use their mobile device to make payments over the use of a traditional card payments. This was re-iterated by 70% of respondents who said that they would prefer to pay using their mobile phone. What the survey showed was the significant shift in the country’s payment landscape towards digital payments.

Of the three African countries that were highlighted, all displayed an appetite for digital in all areas of life. While enthusiastic about innovation, it was evident that all markets want security, especially when it comes to making payments. Consumers unanimously agreed that bank account security is their absolute priority when it comes to digital payments, followed by the security of their personal data.

It is clear that consumers across South Africa, Egypt and Kenya are seeking faster, more secure and smarter methods of payment for an array of transactions. As mobile technology and payments evolve, people expect technology to simplify the way they pay for goods and services. Mastercard is committed to providing fast, secure and simple transactions that meet consumer demands.


About The Mastercard Impact of Innovation Study

 The Mastercard Impact of Innovation study looked into the perception of digitalization and its effects on society, personal preferences in using digital technology for payment, and payment authentication. It also showed how resistant or willing respondents were in accepting and actively using digital technologies.

[1]   The survey was commissioned by Mastercard and carried out by IPSOS Research in the winter 2016. The survey gathered data from internet users with bank accounts between the age of 20-50 in four regions where Mastercard operates: Western Europe (countries: France, Germany, Italy, Sweden, and the UK); Central Eastern Europe (countries: Austria, Bulgaria, Czech Republic, Croatia, Hungary, Israel, Poland, Romania, Serbia, and Slovakia); Russia, Turkey/, and Ukraine/; and the Middle East and Africa (countries: Egypt/, Kenya/, the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia, South Africa/, and the United Arab Emirates). In countries marked with / above, the survey is representative of Internet users, while in all the other countries the survey is representative of the whole population. Sample structure: N=1000 respondents per country, representative sample of 20-50 aged online urban population by gender, age and region. Methodology: online self-completed interviews via IPSOS access panel. Questionnaire: 20-minute self-completed online questionnaire.

Key Findings:

The Mastercard Impact of Innovation study – Key findings
Western Europe (France, Germany, Italy, Sweden and the UK) ·        Consumers in Western Europe tend to be moderate when it comes to digital innovation. Larger proportions of resistants’ (17%) are paired with a lower rate of ‘eager promoters’ (11%). The percentage of people ready to pay by smartphone is around 40%, however Sweden stands out – over 70% are ready. Western Europeans trust biometric authentication such as fingerprint (38%) more than they trust PIN (30%)
Central Eastern Europe (Austria, Bulgaria, Czech Republic, Croatia, Hungary, Israel, Poland, Romania, Serbia, and Slovakia)     ·         Central Eastern Europe occupies the middle ground in many aspects. With the highest rate of drifting followers’ (46%) similar to Western Europe, but with a much lower rate of ‘resistant’s’ (11%). Mobile payment readiness is 57%, and fingerprint authentication (37%) is trusted more than PIN (33%)
Russia, Ukraine, Turkey   ·         Regarding the further spread of digital services Russia, Ukraine and Turkey are the most positive: 4 out of 5 consumers think that they will be available for more people in the future. Mobile payment readiness is an average 64%, and this region boasts the highest number of ‘eager promoters’: an impressive 27%. People from these countries trust fingerprint the least – only 30% said so, but they still prefer it to PINs. SMS code leads with 40%. Demand exists for more innovation in automobile and transport industries.
Middle East & Africa  (Egypt, Kenya, the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia, South Africa and the United Arab Emirates) ·       Consumers in the Middle East and Africa are optimistic about the effects of digitalization and more open towards innovative solutions: Mobile payment readiness is the highest at 73% and the region has the highest ratio of enthusiastic followers (33%). People here do not generally trust PIN codes for payment (20%), however fingerprint enjoys more confidence (30%) and the list is topped by SMS code (40%). This region demands innovation in most areas: not only education, healthcare and transport, but also in commerce, finance, automobile, hotel and restaurant industries.

About Mastercard

Mastercard (NYSE: MA),, is a technology company in the global payments industry.  We operate the world’s fastest payments processing network, connecting consumers, financial institutions, merchants, governments and businesses in more than 210 countries and territories.  Mastercard products and solutions make everyday commerce activities – such as shopping, traveling, running a business and managing finances – easier, more secure and more efficient for everyone.  Follow us on Twitter @MastercardNews, join the discussion on the Beyond the Transaction Blog and subscribe for the latest news on the Engagement Bureau.

Mastercard Communications Contact
Geraldine Trennery,