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10 June 2021

Survey: Finns are intrigued by mobile payments but sluggish to adopt them

The Finns are interested in paying with their smartphones in-store but inertia, a lack of information and data security concerns are putting spanners in the works, says our recent nationwide survey.

Making in-store payments with your smartphone has been possible for more than three years now. But very few Finns still use the multinational tech giants’ payment methods, Apple Pay or Google Pay, at their local store.

According to a survey we commissioned in late May, roughly a tenth of Finns (12.7 percent) prefer to pay for their brick-and-mortar shopping with Apple Pay or Google Pay. The sample was representative of Finland’s adult population.

Lethargy has set in – are the Finns exhausted by the digital transformation?

Many people are interested in mobile payments, but actually using the new payment method is hindered by lethargy, lack of information and data security concerns.

“More than four in ten respondents, or 44.2 percent, said that they had considered starting to pay with Apple Pay or Google Pay, but hadn’t gotten around to it just yet. In actual fact, starting to use these payment methods is pretty easy, however”, says Qvik’s CEO, Lari Tuominen.

The results could indicate that the digital transition ushered in by the pandemic may have caused momentary exhaustion to set in. After many people have been forced to adopt new technologies quickly due to working from home, they lack the resources to adopt new payment methods.

“The Finns are still interested in mobile payments. Our results show that nearly half of us are intending to adopt the new payment method. What’s more, not a single respondent chose the option: I am not at all interested in using my phone to make payments.”

Mobile payments aren’t good enough because no bonus points

Nearly one in four respondents (24.2 percent) had adopted Apple Pay or Google Pay, but still preferred other options at the point of sale. One probable explanation for this behavior is that you can’t accumulate loyalty points if you pay with a mobile app.

“Finnish consumers love their loyalty schemes, but this enthusiasm appears to be damping the popularity of mobile payments. Four in ten respondents, that is, 39.9 percent don’t use Apple Pay or Google Pay because paying with them doesn’t accrue bonus points. It’s probable that mobile payments will become more popular when retailers extend their loyalty schemes to the mobile channel as well”, Tuominen points out.

Almost one in four respondents (24.4 percent) would be interested in Apple Pay or Google Pay, but don’t know how to enable the payment method on their phones. Furthermore, nearly four out of ten (38.5 percent) feel that they have not received enough information on mobile payments.

Data security concerns persist despite digital leap

More than four in ten Finns are worried about the security of paying with their smartphones.

“No less than 43.2 percent of those who took the survey are not using Google Pay or Apple Pay at the checkout because they don’t trust the data security of mobile payments. Even though Finland has taken a giant digital leap in just one year, it’s done nothing to alleviate data security concerns”, Tuominen says.

Qvik also charted Finnish payment habits in November 2019. Trust in mobile payments hasn’t budged in the past eighteen months.

“More than four Finns out of ten, 42.6 percent to be precise, also had doubts about the security of mobile payments back then. In reality, it is safer to pay with your mobile at the checkout. Anyone can use a stolen NFC card, but only the owner can access a payment method tucked away in your phone”, Tuominen finishes.

We charted Finnish attitudes toward mobile payments with a national survey at the end of May 2021. The electronic survey was taken by a thousand people aged 18–75. Half of the respondents were men and half women, and the sample was representative of Finland’s adult population. The survey’s margin of error is 3.1 percent. The survey was carried out by Bilendi, one of the leading research service companies in the Nordics.

What are mobile payments?

  • Apple Pay is a service for paying for your online or brick-and-mortar purchases with your iPhone, iPad, Apple Watch or Mac. The payment is charged to the card connected to the app, but an actual plastic card is not needed to make the payment.
  • In Finland, Apple Pay works with major credit and debit cards, such as those issued by Aktia, Danske Bank, Nordea, OP, Bank Norwegian and Säästöpankki.
  • Google Pay is the corresponding service by Google for Android phones.
  • Google Pay is supported by Finnish card issuers such as Aktia, Ålandsbanken, Danske Bank, Nordea, Bank Norwegian and Säästöpankki.
  • MobilePay is a mobile payment application developed by Danske Bank for transferring funds to other users and making payments at compatible points of sale. The payment is charged to the card linked to the application by the user.
    Pivo is a similar mobile payment application developed by OP Group. It can be used to pay online and at physical points of sale, and for making bank transfers.

Written by

Aino Pajukangas

Aino is a communications specialist who helps Qvik with media contacts and communications.