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The coronavirus pandemic has sped a global movement away from cash: New yStats.com report

The latest publication from Germany-based online research firm yStats.com, “Global POS Payment Methods 2020 & COVID-19’S Impact,” recounts the trends in point of sale payment practices in recent months, with emphasis on the effect that the worldwide health crisis has introduced. Yücel Yelken, yStats.com founder and CEO comments: “the move to alternatives other than cash brought about by the pandemic will likely have lasting consequences.”

Shoppers prefer payment options other than cash

The payment preference of consumers at the point of sale is being transformed by the COVID-19 pandemic. Over three-quarters of shoppers queried in a wide June 2020 survey cited in the yStats.com report indicated that they have changed the way they pay during the health crisis. The main change is toward the reduced use of cash, as consumers in many markets worldwide report using paper and coin currency less for a variety of reasons, including concern that cash may spread the virus. Among the alternatives to cash, a significant share of consumers in multiple markets report a preference for contactless methods of payment.

Mobile payment one of the alternatives seeing growth

Besides the traditional credit and debit card payments, one of the alternative payment methods seeing a spurt during the pandemic is proximity mobile payment. The acceptance of mobile wallets by merchants as well as consumers was already growing before COVID-19 hit the world and has been accelerated by the outbreak. The yStats.com report also tells of the growth of other alternative payment methods such as use of QR codes through a smart device, and the contactless practice of select and pay online, pick up at store.

The trend away from cash is global

Though the move away from cash is a global phenomenon, there are some country and regional variations. China was a leader in mobile payments before the pandemic, and mobile wallets usage continued in the second quarter of 2020 as the country emerged from the peak of the crisis. Japan had been a bastion of cash transactions in-store before COVID, but QR or barcode payments have increased there. In the USA, more than three out of five surveyed consumers reported using cards more during the pandemic to avoid touching cash, according to the yStats.com report. The publication also includes data on the major economies of Europe that have seen the shift away from cash in payment preference during the health crisis.