While fintech investment rises, cash remains king

July 14, 2017 | by Suzanne Cluckey

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Fintech investment hit an all-time high in 2016, but has this massive investment translated into consumer adoption? A new study by Blumberg Capital, an early-stage venture capital firm, suggests that it might not have — at least, not yet.

An online survey of consumers in France, Germany, Israel, the U.K. and the U.S. poll revealed that fintech does appear to be gaining traction, with Israel emerging as a leader in early-adoption, according to a press release.

Nevertheless, cash remains king in most of these countries. For instance, in Germany, 75 percent of adults still use paper currency and coins to make purchases at least once a week.

The survey found that while mobile wallets, peer-to-peer lending, online cross-border trade and mobile banking are finding a user base in the countries surveyed, payment technologies such as ApplePay, PayPal and Venmo have not yet penetrated mainstream consumer groups.

"The findings suggest specific populations are enthusiastically adopting fintech products and services while others continue to maintain more traditional methods of transacting," said David Blumberg, founder and managing partner of Blumberg Capital. "[W]e believe that adoption of new fintech products and services … will only accelerate as bigger banks and financial institutions partner with the early-stage fintech companies to introduce new types of products and services to consumers."

Israel favors fintech; Germany clings to cash

According to the survey findings, Israel leads the other countries in early fintech adoption. This population is more likely than others in the study to use mobile banking apps and mobile wallets to make a purchase at least once per month.

What is more, nearly 1 in 10 Israeli adults say they have used alternative financing or lending services within the last 12 months.

However, while many may believe cash to be an outdated form of payment, paper money is still regularly in use, according to the survey results. Following are the findings across several categories:

Mobile banking

The percentage of adults most likely to use a mobile banking app at least once a month (e.g., to check account balances, transfer funds, make a mobile deposit):

Mobile wallet apps

The percentage of adults likely to use mobile wallet apps to purchase goods or services at least once a month:

Cash vs. tech

The percentage of adults likely to use cash to make purchases at least once a week: 

Fraud: 'What, me worry?'

The survey found a surprisingly low level of concern about fraud in most countries surveyed despite the current risk landscape.

The Blumberg Capital 2017 State of Cybersecurity Report found a gross overconfidence in cybersecurity knowledge and safety, despite the fact that criminals stole $15 billion from 13.1 million American consumers in 2015, according to research from Javelin Strategy.

The percentage of adults concerned about the possibility of being defrauded in attacks by scammers, identity thieves or hackers:

This unconcern about fraud risk could mean that consumers generally have confidence in the products and services they choose.

Cross-border transactions

The survey also looked at the percentage of adults who make online cross-border purchases at least once a month.

The survey also polled participants about the costs associated with cross-border transactions and found a budding anticipation of increased costs for these types of purchases in the future:

It's possible that results in the U.K., reflect consumers' expectations related to Brexit, Blumberg said.

View the full findings online.


The Blumberg survey of adults 18 and older was conducted online by Harris Poll on behalf of Blumberg Capital from May 16–22. Respondents included 2,166 Americans; 1,046 Germans; 1,048 French; 1,050 British; and 550 Israelis. As the survey is not based on a probability sample, no estimate of theoretical sampling error can be calculated.


Topics: Card Brands, Contactless / NFC, EMV, Mobile/Digital Wallet, Trends / Statistics


Suzanne Cluckey / Suzanne’s editorial career has spanned three decades and encompassed all B2B and B2C communications formats. Her award-winning work has appeared in trade and consumer media in the United States and internationally. She is now the editor of ATMmarketplace.com and BlockChainTechNews.com
wwwView Suzanne Cluckey's profile on LinkedIn

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