According to Mastercard’s Zahir Khoja, 85% of transactions globally are still made in cash, representing an enormous opportunity for payments providers to grow digital acceptance.

Presenting at PF WORLD 2018, Khoja told the audience that, while the number of cash transactions looms large, market trends are helping providers move many of those merchants toward digital payments with a focus on the experience it provides for consumers.

Khoja is senior vice president, Global Acceptance and Solutions, Product Development and Innovation, for Mastercard.

He named globalization – the idea that merchants today aspire to operate worldwide – as one of those driving trends.

“Merchants are no longer looking at selling their services only within their communities,” he said.  “They’re looking at selling their services across the city, across the state, into other countries and into other continents.”

He also cited a change from “me” to “we” – a focus on the collective consumer experience enabled by social media and sites such as Yelp – as well as the simpler connections that are made possible through APIs.

In addition, Khoja said that today, offering services on mobile has become a necessity, because consumers’ lives have become so mobile-centric.

“Again, it’s about experience – with frictionless payment built into it,” he said.

Mastercard has previously expressed its support for payment facilitators as important players in the effort to bring digital payments to merchants who are used to operating in cash. Their ability to help simplify the overall payments experience makes them especially well-suited to help remove barriers and grow payments acceptance, card brand representatives have said.