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Coronavirus fears boosting contactless payments, study shows

A new study shows many more U.S. consumers consider tap-and-go a necessity amid the COVID-19 outbreak


Before COVID-19 began its spread, 3 in 10 U.S. adults (30%) reported in a survey that contactless card payments were something they needed. But more recent data indicates a jump to 38% indicating that contactless payment is a necessity to them.

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The fear of contracting COVID-19 has had far and wide impacts on how our society functions, and the ways Americans pay at the store has not been spared.

The Futurist Group, which regularly tracks how U.S. consumers perceive various payment features, has compared how important contactless card features were to Americans before and after the initial phase of the coronavirus outbreak.

The date of its “after” comparison is March 3, which is the day the World Health Organization advised consumers to avoid cash payments and switch to contactless payments to deter transmission of the virus.

What it found was that, before Covid-19 began its spread, 3 in 10 U.S. adults (30%) reported that contactless card payments were something they needed, while a larger share of 41% said they didn’t need the feature.

See related: Coronavirus: What to do if you’re unemployed and have credit card debt

But data from March 3 indicates a jump to 38% indicating that contactless payment is a necessity to them, eclipsing those who say they don’t need it, at 33%. This represents a 26% increase in the number of U.S. consumers who said they require a contactless feature.

This is still early data, and the peak of the coronavirus pandemic will come long after March 3. But it could be an indicator that contactless usage in the U.S. will accelerate significantly as a result of COVID-19.

The Futurist Group regularly evaluates every payments feature currently on the market with structured feedback from U.S. consumers. Its recent comparison was based on data from 3,187 adults, weighted to be demographically representative of the U.S. Census. Findings were released March 5.

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