It’s still unclear how the
coronavirus pandemic will alter payment habits over time — will consumers avoid
cash out of fear of germs, or will they favor it as the one payment option that
nearly all merchants accept?

An impending change in interchange rates may tip the scales in
cash’s favor.

Only four states — Kansas, Connecticut, Colorado and
Massachusetts — continue to ban the practice of merchants adding an extra fee
to defray the cost of credit card acceptance.

But an increase in interchange fees for card-not-present
transactions is scheduled to take effect in April — right at a time when
card-not-present transactions are likely to spike due to increased online
shopping from people sheltering at home.

It’s one of many complexities companies are struggling with as
the crisis progresses.

“As for coronavirus, there is not a lot of thought on credit card fees for primarily business owners of small restaurants,” said Alecia Muth, director of market intelligence for Strawhecker Group. “For them, it is more about how do we stay in operation at this point?”

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