Cashless Society, COVID-19, & Payment Processing

Like all businesses, COVID-19 has affected the payment processing industry. The CDC has recommended to business owners of various industries to minimize handling cash, credit cards, and mobile devices, where possible. These recommendations push society further toward a cashless society as details about COVID-19 and how it’s transmitted and what kind of half-life the virus has remained unclear.

At the same time, multiple studies have demonstrated that in 2019, about 7 in 10 Americans own at least one credit card. These dual incentives have created a structure that is weighted toward a cashless society and that brings its own share of problems.

Ironically, the volume of physical cash in the United States increased at the beginning of the pandemic. When financial markets plunged, many consumers panicked and withdrew large amounts of cash. However, ATM withdrawals plunged in tourist destinations due to a fear of COVID-19.

Privacy advocates have declared that a cashless society is a form of top-down financial tyranny. A move away from cash means that every cent of every dollar spent or earned by the majority of Americans are subject to scrutiny in the form of taxes and litigation. Gone would be the days where a child opening a sidewalk lemonade stand is acceptable. They claim that there would be no freedom to buy a significant other a gift as a surprise or working on the side to earn a bit of extra income for the holidays. Many, like the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU), argue that a cashless society disproportionately affects the poor and underprivileged in American society.

The truth is that society was already trending toward a cashless society and that COVID-19 has merely exacerbated the trend. The majority of society—about 71.5%—already own and use some form of cashless payment and now. In 2017, consumers of all ages used cash in about 30% of their transactions. In 2018, the number was 26%. The numbers aren’t clear in 2019 or 2020, but our clients should expect and even steeper decline moving forward.

Thankfully, RallyPay has already enabled our clients to take advantage of this trend by offering them the option to collect funds through ACH transactions, eChecks, and credit card transactions. No matter how COVID-19 affects the financial landscape, RallyPay stands ready to make it as easy as possible for our clients to raise money for the causes that matter.



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