The everyday exchange of physical currency has taken a turn since the start of COVID-19. Digital transactions are becoming more accepted than ever and could easily leave paper and coin currency in the dust.

American Express released a report stating that after the pandemic began, their card holders felt 50% more comfortable making touchless transactions for the sake of avoiding contagion. Credit card companies are upgrading almost entirely to touchless payment hardware so that customers can simply hover their card over a payment terminal at checkout. In the first half of 2020, Visa distributed over 80 million touchless credit cards.

Baby Boomers, perhaps the most stubborn age group to partake in modern advancements, are even turning to touchless payment. Identified as the “safety shifters,” they’ve taken on digital grocery and meal ordering to avoid COVID, for they are the most at risk demographic.

Another factor that drives touchless payment is the lack of coins being circulated. As customers are becoming more accustomed to online product ordering during the pandemic, they’ve halted their in-person exchange of monies. Most small storefronts rely on cash payments to avoid steep credit card commission fees, but with about $48 billion in loose change left in U.S. homes, more digital payment options became necessary.

Online grocery shopping is the new norm for many households who want to avoid human contact. 45.6 million grocery shoppers in the United States turned to online delivery options. $7.2 billion in online grocery shopping revenue was reported for the month of June, up 8% from May.

In the next 18 months, electronic payments will continue to grow as the preferred method for vendors and consumers across all markets. The popularity of hard currency has already seen a major plummet thus far, and it will be intriguing to see if a COVID free market space will feel the need to welcome dollars and cents back into payment circulation.