Countries around the globe have continued investing in electronic payment methods despite the economic downturn and austerity measures, says the 2011 Government e-payments Adoption Ranking (GEAR), a study commissioned by Visa and published by The Economist Intelligence Unit (EIU).
More than one-third of the 62 countries included in the 2011 GEAR study received the highest possible score for their efforts to promote e-payment security. And more than 90% of the countries have systems in place to enable citizens to calculate and file their income taxes.
“The overall trend since 2007 is for governments to continue to make commitments to the development of e-payment platforms. There is increased ease and efficiency in the way citizens and businesses conduct transactions with their governments,” said Lucy Hurst, associate director of custom research at EIU.
The study shows that the e-government initiatives have grown in correlation to the rise in alternative payment methods and broadband networks. The majority of the countries included in the survey have developed 3G, 4G and other mobile phone technologies, according to the study.
Along with security systems, this improvement is gradually bringing consumers to trust in governmental electronic payments alternatives, Visa concluded.
Other key trends observed by the 2011 GEAR included:
- More than 86% of national governments have a VAT or tax collection system,
- About 84% of the countries have a system for the collection of fines and tolls,76% percent of the governments surveyed have a procurement system in place.
Trust is the “key barrier to citizen adoption of government e-payments”, according to Visa and the EIU.
Despite the growth of e-gov initiatives observed since 2007, e-payments still have little penetration in services like obtaining/paying for an ID card, requesting unemployment, workers’ compensation and welfare benefits, and disbursement of loans to businesses, reported EIU.
GEAR 2011 analysed the performance of 62 countries for 37 indicators across the categories: Citizen-to-Government; Government-to-Citizen; Business-to-Government; Government-to-Business; Infrastructure; Social and Economic Context; and Policy Context.
The countries included in the EIU report account for more than 80% of world population and an estimated 94% of total world GDP.
The GEAR study also looked to the future and estimated that e-gov initiatives implementation and improvements will come along with varied transformations in several countries. Amongst them, the report foresees that:
financial inclusion, particularly in developing markets. Mobile payments adoption in economies like Africa and Latin America will help
- an uptake in mobile payments,
- automating standard services (including tax refunds and social security contributions),
- e-payment security measures,
- collaborations between the public and private sectors on e-payment initiatives.