From the Document: "Many people have heard the phrase 'cash is king,' but is that still true [hyperlink]? Even in today's digital world, cash is still an important tool for retail transactions among many consumers, and some still rely on it. But today, electronic payments are the primary mechanism for consumers to use money. Electronic payments are an old concept. For 60 years, Americans have been using cards that, when swiped, send a signal electronically to financial institutions to make a transfer of funds from the purchaser to the seller. Congress first passed the Electronic Fund Transfer Act (P.L. [Public Law] 95-630) in 1978 to regulate debit card transactions. Today, debit cards are the most common tool for consumer retail payments. But new forms of electronic payment have emerged for consumers ranging from prepaid cards to digital wallets to cryptocurrencies [hyperlink] and other forms of digital assets [hyperlink]. One of the byproducts of the Coronavirus Disease 2019 pandemic is an economic environment that encourages electronic payments. Perhaps not coincidentally, the universe of electronic payment options has increased substantially, with a few new types of tools gaining prominence in the past year. This Insight looks at how the pandemic has impacted consumer payments and how some of these trends are altering the way consumers pay for goods and services. Additionally, it considers how a prolonged pandemic economy may contribute to a new level of comfort among consumers seeking to use innovative payment options and how this may impact the future payments landscape."
CRS Insight, IN11632
Congressional Research Service: https://crsreports.congress.gov/