Shoppers are increasingly paying in ways that don’t involve touching cash, or handing over a credit card, because of fears of the coronavirus, according to Mastercard.
The credit-card giant reported a 40% jump in contactless payments — including tap-to-pay and mobile pay — during the first quarter as the global pandemic worsened.
Mastercard CEO Ajay Banga said the trend was being driven by consumers “looking for a quick way to get in and out of stores without exchanging cash, touching terminals, or anything else.”
“We are seeing an increase in the use of contactless transactions, and we think this trend will continue after the pandemic,” Banga said Wednesday on Mastercard’s first-quarter earnings call with analysts.
The World Health Organization has denied reports that the agency warned against using cash amid the outbreak. But regardless of whether there’s a proven risk, the psychological factor of people thinking of cash as “unclean” appears to be changing how people choose to pay.