The COVID-19 pandemic has led the United States down a fast-track of innovation in almost every sector. Seismic levels of disruption brought on by this public health crisis have ushered in an era of advanced technological adoption that once seemed years away—but is now the status quo. From the shift to EMV-enabled payments cards and the rapid expansion of contactless transactions, continued investment in the future of emerging payments technologies will only better serve the demands of consumers. In the case of mass transit, adoption of new contactless electronic payment technology provided great economic value to struggling mass transit systems while providing consumers with a new level of safety and convenience, increasing their confidence in mass transit systems as we adapt to and recover from the pandemic.
Over much of the last year, tens of millions of Americans have shifted preferences, choosing to have their groceries delivered, work remotely, and rely more on online banking and payment systems. Some merchants, especially small businesses deemed “non-essential,” transitioned to a “card only” payment method to stay in business and accommodate consumer and employee safety concerns over cash. Approximately, 40% of Americans say they have used cash less frequently in 2020 since the onset of the pandemic.