Chapter 4: One Year of Payments and the Pandemic
It has been one year since the onset of COVID-19 dramatically changed the shape of our daily lives. Business owners were forced to persevere against the odds, many opting to pivot their operating models entirely, while consumers were asked to stay home. In between shelter-in-place mandates, reopenings, and more shelter-in-place mandates, the nature of global commerce shifted more in this past year than ever before. The steady increase in cashless adoption rates during the course of the pandemic is emblematic of a renewed preference for digitization among business owners and consumers. In the United States specifically, we estimate the shift away from cash usage in this past year would have taken nearly three years without the pandemic. It’s not to say we’re ditching cash entirely any time soon, but the contactless payments, online ordering, and touch-free pickup and delivery we’ve come to rely on during this past year are telling signs of the forms of commerce that are here to stay on a global scale once COVID-19 is far behind us.