Payment is an integral part of the retail transaction. Some of the largest retailers today have come to power by making payments more convenient. Convenience is, however, largely subjective, and it is often relative to previous norms. This report considers what those norms are in nearly 80 countries by outlining the most important payment methods in each region and country, alongside key local issuers, mobile penetration of e-commerce, and online payment preferences.
Payment preferences are very sticky. Habits, when formed, are tough to break, and because everyone has to pay for things, those habits are widespread. Technology and economic development are enough to push things forward, but the process is slow, as young people need to be convinced of the value, and retailers need to actually accept the payments. Older generations tend to stick with what they grew up with, which in most places is cash.
A slow rate of change, coupled with the fact the everyone used to use cash, might imply a similar evolutionary process over time, perhaps pegged to economic and technological development, but that is not the case. Germany and Japan, for example, remain cash-heavy, while Venezuela and Nigeria show relatively high card usage.
Regional data can be useful in ascertaining broad trends, but large countries can skew the data significantly. Examples include China in Asia Pacific, and Saudi Arabia in the Middle East. Analysis of smaller countries within a region is provided in the more granular data tables in this report.
It is obvious that stores need to accept cards from major North American operators like Visa and Mastercard. Understanding which regional cards should be accepted is less clear cut. Each regional overview outlines the four largest regional operators which retailers should be including in their payments plans. For all regions but Asia Pacific, these operators tend to play in a single country.
Cash on delivery is very common as a way to pay for online purchases, as well as a way to confirm product quality upon delivery. This may give way to a similar structure, but with card payment up delivery. Some countries already have this.
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