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NEWS - 2019 01 17 - 10:35

Contactless Cards Become New Payment Standard for Latvians

Latvian consumers and retailers appreciate the advantages of contactless payments, and the new technology is being accepted in Latvia faster than expected. This according to data from a new survey carried out by Mastercard and Finance Latvia Association. The survey is part of the informative campaign on contactless payments called “Beep and Done” that will take place in Latvia from January to March.

A majority of Latvians (approximately 80 %) are ready for a shift to contactless, and believe contactless payments are easier and faster than regular bank cards or paying in cash. This is revealed by a new survey carried out by Mastercard and Finance Latvia Association (Association) among Latvian residents aged 18-75.

Contactless payments are easy, fast and safe

In addition to creating quicker and more efficient payments for both consumers and retailers, contactless payments are just as secure as those that are PIN-protected. Mastercard data reveals growing awareness about security of contactless cards. On the whole, concerns about security of contactless payments in Europe have decreased by 24 % with the steepest rise in confidence observed in the Netherlands (concerns have reduced by 41 %) followed by Spain (33 %) and the United Kingdom (31 %).

“When Mastercard in 2003 introduced contactless cards, we were first globally. The reason was then, just as it is now, to provide consumers with an easy, fast, and secure way of paying. The positive customer experience is always at the heart of our business and the services we provide, and we see collaborations as a way of achieving this. For this initiative we are collaborating with three largest Latvian retailers, Maxima, Narvesen and Rimi. Mastercard is looking forward to taking part of the journey that Latvia has embarked on with this campaign,” said Peter Olbing, Head of Business development at Mastercard.

Readiness for mobile payments is high in Latvia

The growing popularity of contactless cards suggests that Latvian residents are ready for the next step towards contactless payments — wearable payment technologies (mobile phones, watches, wristbands, stickers, etc.). The survey shows that 63 % of the contactless cards users are willing to make everyday payments via their phones or other mobile devices. Mastercard data also shows that Latvian residents are equally open to new technologies as Swedish people, which is above the EU average.

“The transition to contactless card payments is currently the most widely observed shift in consumer habits in Latvia. Similar as a necessity to high-speed internet, contactless cards are becoming a standard. The adaptation rate of the new technology in Latvia is high and faster than expected — we are witnesses to the rapid growth. Clients and customers appreciate the advantages of “Beep and Done” payments. We welcome merchants to join the campaign,” said Sanda Liepiņa, the CEO of Finance Latvia Association.

For security purposes, contactless cards in Latvia have a EUR 25 limit per payment, which means that at the POS terminal you will not be required to enter PIN for purchases below this amount. In accordance to the requirements from international card organizations Mastercard and VISA, all payment card processing devices in Europe will have to accept payment cards with the contactless payment functions, starting 2020.

“The Contactless card payment security as any other IT security field is combined by multiple components security measures including card acceptance devices, card payment application, transaction processing, card payment overall process and card holders awareness. Major card organisations, finance institutions and manufacturers (PCI - Payment card Industry) are continuously developing the set of best practises, standards, procedures and requirements, which needs to be followed by all Payment card environment participants terminal vendors, service providers, banks and merchants.  The compliance with the PCI rules and usage of all measures together compose the security environment which ensures that all participants card holders, merchants, banks and card organisations can perform every day basis conveniently, operatively and securely," says Alar Alumaa, Hansab companies Card Payment Solutions Manager.

Facts about the contactless payments in Latvia

• 51 % already have contactless cards.
• 40 % use them regularly for everyday purchases.
• There are more that 800 000 cards issued in Latvia. There was a 71 % increase of contactless cards issued during the third quarter, compared to the same period of the previous year.
• More than 57 % of POS terminals in Latvia already are contactless-capable.
• About 80 % believe that making contactless payments is easier and faster than using a regular bank card or paying in cash.
• There are four primary groups of Latvian population in their attitude towards introduction of new technologies in their life:
     - Technology enthusiasts (5 % of Latvians) 74 % of this category have contactless card;
     - Early adopters (5 % of Latvians) 88 % have contactless card;
     - Pragmatists (78 % of Latvians) 50 % have contactless card;
     - Traditionalists (12 % of Latvians) 40 % of this category have contactless card;
• 41 % were ready to use mobile phone or other wearable payment technology for payments already in the nearest future.

About the informative campaign “Beep and Done”

In order to raise awareness of contactless card payments benefits among shoppers and merchants, Mastercard in partnership with Finance Latvia Association organize the informative campaign “Beep and Done” from January to March 2019. During the campaign the main cooperation partners — Maxima, Narvesen and Rimi — will be the first to join the “Beep and Done” movement, informing their customers about the advantages of contactless cards. Merchants are kindly invited to appreciate the advantages of contactless cards at their stores, to support the informative campaign and to join the “Beep and Done” incentive. For more information visit: www.piikungatavs.lv

About the survey:

Mastercard and Finance Latvia Association in cooperation with SKDS carried out the survey among Latvian residents in autumn 2018, interviewing 1’005 respondents aged 18–75 years.

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