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Keeping Your Customers by Refusing Their Cash

  • Survey finds that a large share of small businesses have stopped accepting cash and transitioned to contactless payments during the COVID-19 pandemic
  • Younger customers are more likely to accept cashless transactions and favor companies that require no direct interaction for payment
  • Two-thirds of businesses try a new approach during the pandemic, primarily involving a pivot to digital

Companies have been more open to innovation during the COVID-19 pandemic, experimenting with remote work, curbside pickup of products, and other changes to their business model in order to safeguard their customers and address changing demand. The Visa Back to Business Study, which surveyed 2,000 small and micro businesses along with 4,000 consumers in the United States and seven other countries, found that 67 percent of companies have tried a new business approach while 78 percent of consumers have changed how they pay for products and services.

Small businesses have pivoted more toward a digital presence, with 28 percent trying targeted advertising on social media and 27 percent selling goods online. One-third have been accepting less cash or stopped taking cash payments altogether, with one in five adopting contactless payments.

Contactless payments proved to be a particularly strong draw for consumers, with 63 percent saying they would switch to a competitor that installed this technology and 48 percent saying they would not shop at a store with a shared payment mechanism such as a card reader.

Seventy percent said they had used a new payment option, ranging from tap-to-pay methods to online grocery shopping, for the first time. Younger business owners and consumers were more likely than older ones to support the transition to a more digital payment model.

Thirty-two percent of business owners acknowledged that they had concerns about data privacy and security when shifting to a digital payment model. Fifty-three percent said they had purchased a fraud management tool or solution to help protect their business and their customers’ data.

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