The COVID-19 pandemic raised safety concerns over cash handling, but those fears dissipated as the pandemic dragged on. By October 2020, cash had rebounded and reasserted itself as “the top way to make a purchase throughout 2020,” according to a report by Javelin Strategy & Research for ATM operator Cardtronics.
The report, “The Health of Cash and its Role Expanding the Global Economy,” says cash had rebounded to 73% of usage as of October, widening its lead over other payment methods and confirming that consumers still prefer hard currency for a lot of purchases. That preference, the report asserts, extends beyond physical purchases to digital transactions.
The problem for cash users is that digital platforms typically do not accept cash payments. But they should, the report argues. Substantial numbers of consumers still want to pay with cash when picking up in store (19%), ordering food for pickup (28%), and for personal services (31%).