Card payments to be the new normal as “behaviors have fundamentally changed” during lockdown

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Card payments are set to experience a “permanent” boom in usage due to the coronavirus pandemic, according to card giant Visa.

Cash usage has fallen dramatically since worldwide lockdowns have been enforced, while card and online spending have shot up as customers try to limit physical contact between themselves and shopworkers.

Visa’s European chief executive Charlotte Hogg believes that this shift will last well after lockdown measures are eased.

“Behaviours have fundamentally changed,” she told the Financial Times in an interview.

“It’s hard to say exactly what the (economic recovery) is going to look like, but we think it’s going to be digital, domestic spending is going to be important, and debit cards (rather than credit) are going to be important.”

READ MORE: Contactless limit rise to £45 leads to 7 million extra transactions and jump in average spend

Visa is actively supporting this move away from cash, aiming to persuade public transport networks across the world to begin accepting card payments.

I was also a key driver of the rise in card spending limits to £45 here in the UK in April, which reportedly led to more than seven million extra contactless payments that month.

Hogg believes this limit should be raised even higher and be enough to cover a household’s weekly shop, though she admits “I don’t think we would jump to doubling it just yet”.

She added that the UK’s small businesses had work to do to ensure they were prepared for a larger shift away from cash.

“Many of their business models aren’t geared for a digital world — that’s not what they’ve had to do in the past, but now consumers are really calling for that,” she added.

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