Mobile payments may be ubiquitous in China—so prevalent in fact that Tencent’s CEO and others have claimed it’s a Chinese invention—but almost as common are the safety problems: the majority of users have had money stolen via the technology, according to a new studyCaixin Global reports.
In a recent survey of over 150,000 digital payment users in China, 67.2% of respondents said their finances have been compromised, and more than 80% reported their personal details were exposed, according to the 2019 Mobile Payments Survey (link in Chinese) by the Payment & Clearing Association of China.
Two-thirds of users have also come across deceptive quick response codes, or QR codes, the basis for China’s top mobile payment method, while 40.8% reported having their codes surreptitiously forwarded to other people last year.
Safety was the digital payment feature most in need of improvement, according to 78.5% of survey respondents.
While it remains at a distant second place to QR codes, Quick Pass, a tap payment method from Chinese financial services giant UnionPay, made major inroads in 2019, adopted by 49.9% of mobile users, up from 27.2% in 2018. Usage of QR codes-based mobile payments inched up to 92.6% of survey respondents in 2019.
For banks, whose mobile apps struggle to gain adoption among shoppers, a lack of support from merchants remained the top barrier.
According to the data, middle-aged consumers expanded significantly as a proportion of mobile payment users. While those younger than 30 years old accounted for more than half of users in 2018, those between 31 and 60 accounted for nearly two-thirds of users in 2019.
Coinciding with this shift, those spending less than 100 yuan ($14.40) per transaction declined from 43.2% in 2018 to 15.1% in 2019, while those spending between 500 yuan and 1,000 yuan increased from 13.4% in 2018 to 35.3% in 2019.
„Though Libra has met with fierce resistance from central banks and supervisory authorities and might never see the light of day, in many other cases tech firms (both start-ups and established big players) have successfully captured bits and pieces of universal banks’ traditional value chain. This trend may only intensify in the coming years. In this environment, European banks remain squeezed.”