A representative opinion poll was conducted covering rural Hungary on the knowledge, preferences and needs of the Hungarian public in relation to electronic payment

The Electronic Payment Providers’ Association (EFISZ) conducted a new, country-wide representative survey on the state of domestic electronic payment: on this occasion, the Association surveyed the knowledge, preferences and needs of the Hungarian public at the rural level in relation to electronic payment in a changed situation caused by the coronavirus pandemic.

The nationwide representative sample was taken among the adult Hungarian population living outside the capital and the county seats in May 2021. The target group consisted of the following: persons aged 18 or over among the Hungarian population living outside the capital and the county seats (“rural sample”), and persons aged 18 or over among the Hungarian population living in the 6 chosen cities (Balassagyarmat, Balatonfüred, Sátoraljaújhely, Sopron, Szentendre, Szentes) (“urban sample”). The poll fits into the EFISZ’s survey series started during the pandemic, which examines the electronic payment preferences of domestic users, broken down by national, urban and rural Hungary.

In the May surveys, EFISZ was primarily interested in the awareness and needs of the Hungarian rural population regarding electronic payment, as well as the factors the public preferred during the emergency situation caused by the pandemic. The summary of the research clearly shows that rural households use infocommunication devices and services in a similar way to national samples, and that a significant proportion of them have the devices necessary to access the services. Thanks to Internet access, respondents spend a significant amount of time using various Internet services. Nearly two-thirds of respondents use the internet on their mobile phones – but they still lag behind national samples in terms of electronic shopping rates or use of electronic banking services. There is still a significant gap in the use of QR code technology for electronic
payments, with around a fifth of respondents aware of and using it, while the majority are not familiar with NFC technology.

The best-known payment options, after cash, are contactless payment by credit card at the terminal or by swipe. The majority of respondents are also aware of the option of transfers and online payment with a bank card. The least known electronic payment methods within the rural sample were the prepaid card and the payment options offered by alternative service providers (e.g. virtual wallet). The majority of users who are already familiar with electronic payments are happy to use them. The most popular electronic payment method among users is contactless payment by credit card. According to 45%, this payment method has all the positive characteristics listed. However, it is also clear from the research that the main reason for neglecting electronic payment methods is habit: we still like to pay in cash out of habit. It might be promising, however, that more and more people are already tracking costs, i.e. users are becoming more and more conscious, and they are now also noticing that the cost of cash withdrawals can be significantly high..

Providing users with adequate information is an important element in the proliferation of electronic payments. The rural sample, in line with national and urban samples, also highlights the importance of information from family and friends in learning about new electronic payment options. The assessment of own financial literacy is satisfactory. With respondents mostly seeking to improve their financial literacy with the help of family members, it is clear that gaining the trust of customers is important to further proliferate the use of electronic payment services. The majority, 61% of respondents use the electronic payment services of their own banks. Around one in three of the respondents (also) use electronic payment services provided by telecommunications and utility providers. Both the internet bank and the mobile bank are mainly used to transfer money and check balances. The survey clearly shows that this ratio can be further improved with appropriate digitisation of utilities and other services that affect
families.

The emergence of the pandemic significantly facilitated the proliferation of digital services and electronic payment. A wide range of users have been introduced to new possibilities and to safe payment methods from a health-related point of view. However, the data of the survey series also show that service providers need to work together to ensure that users become accustomed to using digitally available services once the pandemic has passed.

The public summaries of the previous and latest opinion polls carried out by EFISZ are available on the website of the Association (www.efisz.hu).