This article is a part of a series in which the Financial Times asks leading commentators and policymakers what to expect from a post-Covid-19 future.

The writer is a former director of the US National Economic Council.

Many parts of our lives will change after Covid-19, including the places we go, the people we see, how we travel and how we pay for it all. For the past five weeks I have not touched a single coin or banknote, instead relying exclusively on electronic payments systems and credit cards that only I touch.

I am not alone. Online merchants such as Alibaba and Amazon are thriving, and more and more brick-and-mortar stores have shifted to systems where you order ahead, pay on the phone, and pick up kerbside. Even businesses that have resisted credit cards for decades — cash-only Frankfurt bakeries and cheque-based New York psychotherapists — are welcoming or even requiring digital payment.

Valdis Dombrovskis, European Commission vice-president for financial services, is trying to help the process along. He recently tweeted “Time to swap your coins for payment cards — safer for containing coronavirus.”


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