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The pandemic’s impact on digital payments and cash, in five charts

George Washington and Queen Elizabeth II are seen with printed medical masks on the one Dollar and Pound banknotes in this illustration.
REUTERS/Dado Ruvic
Endangered species.
  • John Detrixhe
By John Detrixhe

Future of finance reporter


Digital payments were catching on even before the coronavirus pandemic. Now these transactions are getting turbocharged by the crisis, and the disruption could lead to lasting changes in how people spend.

“We are hitting a tipping point across the world where people are seeing just how simple and easy it is to use digital payments to pay for services,” PayPal CEO Daniel Schulman said May 6 in a conference call with analysts. He said the company had its largest single day of transactions ever on May 1, beating out heavy shopping days like Black Friday or Cyber Monday.

As the health crisis intensified and lockdowns came into force, share prices of payment companies like PayPal suffered a smaller decline than the overall US stock market. More recently, they’ve blown the broader equity market away as governments geared up to support their economies, and as stay-at-home restrictions started to be gradually lifted.

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