There is no question that the COVID-19 pandemic ushered in a plethora of changes that has impacted practically every aspect of life—personal and business. Discussions and predictions about digital transformation has been a trending topic for years as businesses and industries began to embrace, plan and implement digital initiatives. After COVID-19 infiltrated the U.S, in less than 30 days, companies and individuals faced a world that had drastically changed and leaving what-to-do-now questions within the aftermath.
The circumstances of the pandemic did more than just encourage acceptance of digital transformation, it accelerated it with the force and speed of a 100-mph roller coaster. For companies and industries to survive during the pandemic with a spread of unknown facts about COVID-19, industries had to immediately pivot and accommodate new ways of doing business.
Conducting business—whether B2B or B2C—usually concludes with a payment transaction for services rendered and commodities purchased. At the grocery store, you must pay for the items you purchased with cash or use a credit/debit card to complete the transaction. Money has always been considered a magnet for germs and deep concern was expressed over the possibility that money might be a carrier of COVID-19. Early on, how the virus was spread was still unknown and invariably described by unconfirmed theories and speculation.
Trend 1: Adoption of Digital Payments
The safe, simple solution for many companies to process payment transactions was to adopt and expand the use of digital payment methods. It’s an existing trend and did not require a change in consumer behavior. Digital payments became a change that is destined to remain. Seventy percent of buyers say they prefer digital interactions.
New ways to pay is reflected within the healthcare industry. Doctors, hospitals, and healthcare providers have accepted electronic payments for years. In fact, patients can pay via ACH bank withdrawal, credit, debit, HSA/FSA card, and virtual wallets. ACH payments allow the transfer money from one bank account to another without using paper checks, credit card networks, wire transfers, or cash.
The transformation to different payment methods has become a trend and continues to evolve. COVID-19 has cast a shining light on payment methods as a viable option for the continuation of business normalcy. In fact, 70% of merchants that are digital transformation leaders state that payments are a highly strategic area of focus for their business. 
Trend 2: Acceptance of the latest payment journeys
Another payment method has been in demand and offered by companies. Digitally-savvy, mobile-friendly Millennial and Gen-Z buyers have started using new customer payment journeys. They want to try before they buy and minimize payments resulting in businesses to offer subscriptions, recurring payments, and installment payments.
Consumers can use contactless payments to purchase goods and services using their debit or credit cards with chips; and they do not have to swipe, enter a personal identification number and/or sign for a transaction. Research reveals that more than three-quarters of United States consumers are now aware of such payments, representing a 25 percent year-over-year increase. 
Contactless payments have surged during the pandemic with many companies and businesses expanding their payment options to incorporate contactless to meet consumer demand for an alternative, contact-free way to make payments.
 451 Research’s Voice of the Enterprise: Customer Experience & Commerce, Merchant Study 2020.
(To be continued)