For the sixth edition of The Visa Global Back to Business Study, Visa asked small business owners and consumers in nine markets around the world to look ahead at what 2022 and beyond could entail for cashless transactions.

One in four (25%) consumers globally expect to switch to making cashless payments only within the next two years, while one in two (53%) say it will happen in the next 10 years, and 16% say they already solely make digital payments, a survey of consumers and merchants in nine markets worldwide has found.

From a small business perspective, 41% of small businesses expect to rely exclusively on digital payments within the next two years, with nearly two thirds saying it could happen within 10 years (64%), and 18% saying they are already cashless, according to survey data.

Over 20% of the small businesses surveyed say they plan to accept payments made using digital currencies, including cryptocurrencies such as Bitcoin (24%), and nearly three quarters (73%) regard accepting new forms of payment as “fundamental to their business growth.”

According to survey results, the top areas of digital growth for small businesses in 2022 are:

  1. Offering new products or services (41%)
  2. Increasing social media presence (40%)
  3. New online channels (33%)
  4. Investing more in marketing (33%)
  5. Accepting new forms of payment (32%)

Furthermore, the top factors outside of price that influence consumer’s store purchasing choice are:

  1. Convenience (63%)
  2. Good previous experience (60%)
  3. Personal safety (54%)
  4. Urgency for product or service (52%)
  5. Accept digital payments (36%)

These factors show a heavy shift in prevalence for ease of purchasing and security, both of which are enhanced by digital payments. Specifically, survey data found evidence to support that age played a role in consumers’ willingness to complete digital payments. Visa states “Gen Z (59%) and Millennials (55%) have not bought something because there was no way to pay digitally, significantly more than Gen X (38%) and Boomers (19%).” This demonstrates that the Gen Z and Millennial demographics lead the charge in digital payment access, and as they continue to have more spending power, digital payment availability will only become more important.

The survey was conducted in December 2021 by Wakefield Research for Visa. Participants included 2,250 small businesses in Brazil, Canada, Germany, Hong Kong, Ireland, Russia, Singapore, United Arab Emirates, and the USA, 1,000 adult consumers in the US and 500 adult consumers in each of the other eight countries.

Visa is a world leader in digital payments, facilitating more than 215 billion payments transactions between consumers, merchants, financial institutions, and government entities across more than 200 countries and territories each year. Its mission is to connect the world through the most innovative, convenient, reliable, and secure payments network, enabling individuals, businesses, and economies to thrive.

Visa is a principal member of the NFC Forum.

This survey provides encouraging results for the future of digital payments and its continued incorporation into businesses and likely increased consumer adoption. For more information, or to read the survey results in their entirety, click here. To learn more about the NFC Forum community, develop an interest in new markets, or develop shared work products, register for the NFC Forum Member Meeting.