Back in 2018, the World Cup was taking place in Russia, while the people of Britain were ecstatic about Harry and Meghan's fairy-tale wedding and only a minority paid contactless or by mobile in Belgium. It seems a lifetime ago… or a sign of how much things can change in just five years!
- Compared to five years ago, we paid contactless nearly 36 times more often by tapping our Bancontact card on the payment terminal instead of inserting it into the little slot of the payment terminal. In 2022, there were more than 1.1 billion contactless Bancontact payments, compared with a little over 31 million in 2018. In December 2022, 61% of all Bancontact card payments made in-store were contactless.
- Compared to five years ago, we made 8 times more mobile payments using the Payconiq by Bancontact app or a banking app incorporating Bancontact and/or Payconiq. In 2022, there were nearly 275 million mobile payments, compared with nearly 34 million in 2018. Mobile payments can be made in-store and online by scanning a QR code with your smartphone. You only have to confirm the payment on your smartphone and you're done. Payments between friends and/or colleagues are also so easy to make using your smartphone. You simply scan a QR code of the person you want to pay or else you can select the beneficiary in your list of contacts in the Payconiq by Bancontact app and pay them back remotely.
- Compared to five years ago we paid 3.7 times more online with Bancontact and Payconiq. In 2022, there were over 264 million online payments, compared with nearly 71 million in 2018. In December 2022, 82% of online payments were made using the Payconiq by Bancontact app or with a banking app incorporating Bancontact and/or Payconiq. The other 18% were paid with a bank card and card reader.
The jump from 1 to 2.3 billion
Year after year, our payment habits have changed at lightning speed, according to the annual figures published by Bancontact Payconiq Company. In 2022, the number of payments made with Bancontact and Payconiq rose by 15% compared with 2021, with a total of 2.3 billion payments. In the space of five years, these payments have risen by 54.5%, with 1.5 billion payments in 2018. “Amazingly, it took us 30 years with Bancontact to get to 1 billion payments,” says Nathalie Vandepeute, CEO of Bancontact Payconiq Company. “Over the following ten years, that number jumped to 2.3 billion and growth has accelerated over the past five years. We are still seeing an increasing acceleration in terms of electronic payments, and the end is by no means in sight.”
Contactless is king
Today, paying contactless with the Bancontact card is far and away the most used payment method in Belgium. In December 2022, 61% of all Bancontact card payments made in-store were contactless, versus 14.5% in February 2020, just before the pandemic. Nathalie Vandepeute sums up this huge success as follows: “Tapping the terminal with your Bancontact card is simple, fast, hygienic and secure.” And for amounts less than 50 euro, you don’t even have to enter your PIN any more.
Smartphone on the rise
Mobile payments are also making great strides with each passing year. Our estimate is that as many as 6.7 million Belgians used their smartphones to make mobile payments with Bancontact or Payconiq in 2022, a growth of 20.5% compared with 2021. This figure comes as no surprise when you realise that 82% of all online payments using Bancontact and Payconiq are now made by smartphone (December 2022). Working with a desktop, you simply scan a QR code with your phone. While by smartphone, the payment app opens automatically. In total, Belgians made 275 million mobile payments with the Payconiq by Bancontact app or banking app featuring the Bancontact and/or Payconiq method of payment in 2022. Compared with the year before, that’s an increase of 34% – and looking back five years, that figure has grown by a staggering 713%! We are also using our mobiles increasingly often to pay back friends. In 2022, around 45 million payments were made between friends – 8 times more than five years ago.
Dynamic payment method
Out of all the mobile trends, the Bancontact card also remains a benchmark for electronic payments in Belgium. “The bank card has been around for 40 years, so it will survive for a while yet,” believes Nathalie Vandepeute. “But the future lies mainly with smartphone payments. Instead of having a static payment card, the smartphone gives you a dynamic means of paying in the palm of your hand. And you can do so much more with it – such as adding loyalty cards and meal vouchers in our app. We’re aiming to create a smoother payment experience for both consumers and merchants with these integrations.”
What about cash?
The rise of electronic payments is still not pushing cash into a forgotten corner for now. Based on the figures available to us today, which do not include all cash withdrawals, we see the number of cash withdrawals increase by 14% in 2022 compared to corona year 2021. But the number of cash withdrawals is still 21% lower than in the pre-pandemic year of 2019, when cash was still much more of a habit for making payments. “Our goal is not to have a world without cash,” continues Nathalie Vandepeute. “We at Bancontact Payconiq Company certainly don’t want to see cash disappear. But we do advocate a world with less cash. Cash comes with a hefty price tag for society. Cash is expensive to store, transport and keep secure. Cash has its price – unlike what one might think.”