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Will the future be card or phone payments? Why the answer could be both...

Digital wallets and alt-pays are on the up. But payment cards and mobile phones can work together to improve security, speed and convenience.

Hans Sjölund / June 06, 2023

A new white paper from Tietoevry argues that far from competing, cards and phones can complement each other in payments. Hans Sjölund, Head of Card Sales & Business Development at Tietoevry Banking, explains why.

The digital revolution has enabled a new generation of payment methods, from digital wallets through to wearables, crypto-currencies and account-to-account transactions. Some estimates suggest1 that half of the world’s population will use digital wallets stored on mobile devices by 2050. However, our new white paper explains that such statistics only tell part of the story. As new research from Payments Cards and Mobile2 shows, the use of payment cards actually grew far above trend across Europe coming out of the pandemic.

The number of cards in circulation last year grew by 20% more than the long term average across Europe, at 5.18%, while spending on cards shot up by 16.35% percent – more than three times the long-term average. Despite the much-hyped consumer preference for digital wallets in e-commerce, cards remain preferred for online shopping in key European markets such as the UK (51% of transactions) and France (53.9%), and neck-and-neck across the whole of Europe, with cards used in 42% of all online transactions compared to 44% for wallets.

In our white paper, “Is the future card or phone payments? The answer could be both”, we show how consumer familiarity, trust and convenience are key factors behind the ongoing popularity of cards. For instance, a study conducted by Visa USA and The Strawhecker Group during the pandemic revealed3 that 65% of US consumers preferred using contactless payment cards in any payment scenario for their familiarity and convenience.

What’s more, the last five years have seen new features such as near-field communication (NFC) contactless transactions, biometric security and multi-function cards that feature debit and/or credit, loyalty, buy-now-pay-later (BNPL) combine to make cards more relevant in the digital age. Over the same period, mobile device penetration has exceeded 100% in most developed economies. Rather than seeing mobile wallets displace cards, our new white paper reveals evidence of a growing symbiotic relationship between cards and phones, whether that’s card management apps such as the Tietoevry My Cards app, or the use of a digital wallet linked to a payment card as seen in 61% of wallets4.

 Download our new white paper now to see five different use cases in which mobile phones and cards can work together to deliver more services and greater security, speed and convenience in payments.


Hans Sjölund
Head of Sales, Cards
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