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03.06.17

Emerging Payments a Hot Topic on Social Media, Study Finds

Consumers are expressing interest in and enthusiasm for emerging payment methods in their social media conversations, according to a new report. Mastercard’s fifth annual Digital Payments Study analyzed more than 3.5 million public interactions in 2016 between consumers on social media channels—including Facebook, Instagram and Twitter—to glean insight about consumer attitudes toward new payment technologies worldwide.

Digital and mobile wallets dominated such discussions, with the topic comprising a whopping 75 percent of conversations about emerging payments, the report found. Within that topic, the increased acceptance of wallets for in-store, online and mobile purchasing was the most common subtopic, generating more than 2 million mentions. Beyond acceptance, consumers also often discussed enhanced wallet functionalities, such as the ability to store loyalty cards and use wallets to pay transit fares.

Cutting-edge technologies including artificial intelligence, wearables and smart home assistants, like Amazon’s Alexa, were the second-most talked-about payments topic in 2016, the study found. The subject generated particularly strong consumer interest in the fourth quarter of the year, as many social media users discussed how such services could help with their holiday shopping. Consumers also were apt to discuss wearables, with those in the Asia-Pacific region often sharing rumors of mobile wallet integrations with wearable products. Meanwhile, the Internet of Things (IoT) was a hot topic in North America and Europe, with social media discussions often centering on how payments could be integrated into any connected device.

Finally, the study found that consumers are cognizant of issues around payments security, with conversations often noting how the success of emerging payments technologies will depend largely on the security protections such methods can offer. Forty-three percent of consumers who discussed security expressed interest in biometrics and other forms of authentication to enhance security, reduce fraud and move beyond password-based authentication—which often drew the ire of consumers, who commonly complained about entering, forgetting and needing to reset passwords, according to the research.

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