Visa sees cash use drop worldwide

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Most consumers globally have changed the way they pay to avoid coronavirus risk, and almost half say they’re using cash less often since the pandemic began, according to a study from Visa.

Coronavirus has caused most consumers to change their payments behavior in some fashion, Visa found in a survey conducted in late June among 1,000 consumers and 250 small businesses in the U.S., Germany, Canada, Ireland, Hong Kong, Singapore, Brazil and the UAE, Visa said in a Tuesday press release.

Overall, 46% of consumers surveyed said they haven’t used cash as much since coronavirus began to spread across the world, but the sharpest decline in cash use was in Ireland, where 63% said they’ve reduced reliance on cash since the pandemic began.

The U.S. ranked lowest among the eight countries for consumers moving away from cash, at 35%, likely due to the lower penetration of contactless cards available. Fewer than half of all cards in circulation in the U.S. are contactless, and though mobile payments are widely available through devices, their use is relatively limited.

One in four consumers globally said they’ve used contactless payments for the first time during the pandemic.

Almost half, or 48%, of consumers said they’d avoid shopping at a store that only offers payment methods requiring contact with a cashier or using a shared payment device, Visa's data suggested.

About 20% of small businesses in the eight countries surveyed have added contactless payments during the pandemic, and 33% said they have accepted less cash — or ceased accepting cash altogether — since coronavirus struck.

Wakefield Research conducted Visa’s study among 1, consumers globally between June 12 and June 29, 2020; and small businesses June 18 and June 29.

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