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Square report reveals how much the pandemic has accelerated the digital economy

Wednesday 16 September 2020 12:17 CET | News

Square has released a new report that highlights how the onset of COVID-19 has affected global commerce and payments behaviour.

According to the press release, in February 2020, just 5.4% of Square sellers across the US were cashless. By April 2020, amidst the height of shelter-in-place mandates, that number jumped up to 23.2%, and by August 2020, as the world slowly began to reopen, the number of Square sellers with a cashless business model was showing signs of stabilizing at 13.4%. That said, there has still been a remarkable increase in cashless adoption rates compared to pre-pandemic.

Moreover, among payments transacted at US Square sellers since February 2020, the share of cash transactions decreased from 37% in February to 33% in April, and held stable at 33% through the end of August. By comparison, during that same time period in 2019, the share of cash transactions increased slightly: from 39.9% in February to 40.0% in August.

When comparing the share of cash transactions via Square in 2019 to 2020, the year-over-year change shows a 7.3% point drop from 40.6% in 2019 to 33.3% as of 1 August, 2020. If we use 2019 as a baseline indicator, we estimate this one-year shift would have taken more than three years without the pandemic. 

Therefore, increasing availability and usage of online and contactless payments are also contributing to the decrease in cash usage over the last year, showing the following data:

  • From February through August 2020, there was a 13.2% point increase in the share of Square sellers accepting online payments. By August, more than 40% of all Square sellers were accepting online payments.

  • From February through August 2020, there was a 6.6% point increase in the share of Square sellers accepting contactless payments. By August, more than 7 in 10 Square sellers were accepting contactless payments.


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Keywords: Square, report, COVID-19, global commerce, payments behaviour, US, cashless, cashless business model, contactless payments, online payments
Categories: Payments & Commerce | Online Payments
Countries: United States
This article is part of category

Payments & Commerce