Virtually overnight, COVID-19 radically changed every aspect of our lives. How people socialized, learned, dined, worked, and played were spun into a state of dizzying free fall, and no one is quite sure which changes will be temporary, and which will be permanent. There are compelling reasons why old-school bills and coins may become yet another casualty of the coronavirus.
The lure of contactless transactions.
These days, many are avoiding credit card processing equipment that requires touch. Instead, consumers are preferring to buy items online via virtual shopping carts for delivery or curbside pickup. They are also continuing to embrace contactless digital wallet payments such as Apple Pay and Samsung Pay.
Benefits can be obtained faster.
For decades, workers have had the option to have their checks directly deposited into their bank accounts, yet millions continue to have paper checks sent to them instead. However, the officials at the U.S. Treasury, who manage the COVID-19 stimulus benefits, have made it clear that people will get their money much faster if they have it electronically placed into their bank accounts. Quite possibly, they will come to appreciate the speed and efficiency of this process and will forever leave behind any reservations about continuing this practice in the future.
Paying electronically and with plastic enables better record keeping.
If the pandemic has taught us anything, it is that everything is subject to change, including the amount of cash available to us. When every penny counts, paying with a credit card enables consumers to keep track of spending in an organized way. With very little effort, people who once frittered away cash without paying attention to where it went, can now take a thorough look at their spending and cut down when necessary.
Credit cards offer access to valuable rewards.
Now that stability at any cost and access to every dollar seem more important than ever, people are looking for every method possible to put money in their pockets. Although customer loyalty rewards traditionally yield only small discounts and the occasional free product, buyers may decide that obtaining them, which involves paying with a credit card, is worth purchasing with plastic.
Online transactions are cashless.
COVID-19 caused even the most tech-averse among us to embrace the internet. After all, it was much safer to make purchases online and retrieve them at the door than it was to risk your health by venturing out into the unknown. In order to make those purchases, cash was not an option.
Will the coronavirus erase cash entirely from the American consciousness? That seems highly unlikely, considering that it still has its uses. Furthermore, there is a sizable segment of society that is squeamish about putting their trust in big banks and other financial institutions. Whatever the end result might be, however, one thing seems clear: COVID-19 has ensured that our lives, including the way we spend money, will never be quite the same again.