NY Fed report: interest in non-bank digital payment options grew in pandemic era

With fears that cash could spread the coronavirus, digital payment options like Venmo and PayPal increased in prominence during the pandemic. But bankless options like Square’s Cash App appear to have users extra interested as well.

A report from the Federal Reserve Bank of New York found that interest in peer-to-peer Cash App grew after April 15, once the U.S. government released coronavirus stimulus checks to citizens. Peer-to-business options like Google Pay and Apple Pay saw an accompanying decrease in interest.

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The report looked at Google search results for items like “ATM near me” decreased 42% throughout the pandemic. Since cash transactions lack a digital paper trail, such trends in keyword searches suggest reduced cash use. 

Keyword searches for digital payment options increased — particularly Cash App. Cash App allowed citizens to receive government coronavirus-related stimulus funds, The Block previously reported. However, banks for debt collectors could seize funds deposited in banks. Ultimately, the increase in these digital payment options suggests in increase in user preference away from cash or bank-affiliated transactions.