As more people worry about catching coronavirus from touching cash and credit-card terminals, a onetime niche technology is roaring into the mainstream.

Use of contactless mobile payments — services that once struggled to catch on in the U.S. — is surging as people come to see their phones as the safer way to pay. They’re also using mobile apps tied to payments, such as Amazon Prime Now, to place delivery or pickup orders for groceries. The Treasury Department may even let people who don’t have bank accounts receive their coronavirus relief checks via mobile-payment services like Venmo.

Already, 27% of U.S. small businesses have seen an increase in customers using services like Apple Pay, according to a survey of 361 companies released in April by The Strawhecker Group and the Electronic Transactions Association.

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