Research on electronic payment during the COVID-19 pandemic emergency

As part of the professional work related to the development of the Electronic Payment Strategy (EPS), the Electronic Payment Service Providers’ Association (EFISZ) conducted a national representative public opinion poll with contribution of its members on electronic payment in Hungary during the epidemiological situation.

The survey covered public knowledge, preferences and needs in connection with electronic payment during the extraordinary situation caused by the coronavirus.

The EFISZ conducted an opinion survey by phone, with a national representative sample, among Hungarian residents 18 years of age or older. In the survey conducted from May to June 2020, the EFISZ was primarily interested in the awareness and needs of the Hungarian population regarding electronic payment, and in factors favoured by the public during the epidemiological situation caused by the coronavirus.

The majority of households own a bank card, smart phone and laptop (as well). Approximately 80 per cent of survey respondents have a home internet subscription (according to the survey conducted by the EFISZ in June 2019, roughly 70 per cent of respondents had a home internet subscription). Sixty-six per cent of respondents use their mobile phone for internet browsing (compared to 52 per cent measured during last year’s survey). Eighteen per cent of respondents do not use the internet at all. The 72 per cent majority of internet users used the internet every day during the previous week. Respondents used the internet for an average period of 4 hours daily (compared to an average of 3 hours based on last year’s survey). Roughly two thirds of respondents use the internet daily for maintaining contact and reading news. Almost all respondents own a private mobile phone (compared to 89 per cent of respondents measured during the 2019 survey). Within this group, approximately 70 per cent own a smartphone and 26 per cent own a traditional device. Among those owning a mobile phone, 45 per cent have a mobile internet subscription, and roughly every fourth respondent’s phone is not suitable for internet use. Roughly one half of respondents use their mobile phone for visiting social networking sites. Roughly 30 per cent use applications at least once daily on their phones.

After cash the most popular methods of payment are contactless and swiped bank card payments (according to the 2019 survey of the EFISZ, the most popular form of payment among respondents was cash as well, followed by bank card payments). The majority of respondents are also aware of the option of transfers, online payment with a bank card and mobile payment. The least known electronic payment methods were the prepaid card and the virtual wallet in 2020 as well. Cash is the most popular form of payment among respondents aware of the given payment method; almost all of them use it on a day-to-day basis. The majority of respondents use cash, contactless and swiped bank card payment at least once a week. The majority of respondents use mobile payment, a virtual wallet and transfers on a monthly basis or less.

Approximately two thirds of respondents who do not use any of the listed electronic payment methods use cash out of habit.

Respondents mainly use a netbank and mobile bank for checking their balance or for transfers. Forty-five per cent and 55 per cent of respondents do not have netbank or mobile bank access, respectively. Netbank and mobile bank users access these platforms on average 5 and 7 times a month, respectively.

According to approximately 40 per cent of respondents, the recommendation of electronic services by banks and investment providers is effective. A high ratio of respondents could not provide an answer to this question. The majority of respondents are satisfied with information provided by the customer service of banks and financial service providers. Roughly 20 per cent of respondents do not request such assistance. The majority of respondents learned about electronic payment options, and are informed about new related developments through family and friends. 

Satisfaction with improvement of the quality of electronic payment services is highest in relation to bank and telecommunication services, online purchases and utilities. In the opinion of respondents, improvement of the quality of electronic payment services is most important in health care, official administration, banking services, education and utilities.

The majority of respondents use the electronic payment services of their own banks. Every fourth respondent (also) uses the electronic systems of telecommunication providers and 15 per cent use those of utility providers. Every fourth respondent does not use an electronic payment service. The level of users’ satisfaction with specific electronic payment services is high and they are likely to recommend these to others.

The majority of respondents do not have a mobile payment application on their phones. Sixteen per cent of respondents have such applications and use them. The vast majority of respondents do not know any prepaid card financial services. Three quarters of survey participants have heard of the introduction of immediate transfers. Every tenth respondent has heard of PSD 2, the new Payment Services Directive of the EU. 

Since emergence of the epidemiological situation, 35 per cent of respondents have been paying by electronic means whenever possible, mostly to avoid the use of cash. Every third respondent used electronic payment options with the same frequency.