A new study by Visa (NYSE:V) indicates that the shifts toward contactless payments accelerated by the pandemic won't subside after it is gone.

The study -- called the "Visa Back to Business Study: 2021 Outlook" -- found that the small and micro businesses (SMB) that employed contactless payment technologies jumped from 20% in June 2020 to 39% by the end of the year. Further, it found that 74% of SMBs expect consumers to continue wanting contactless payments even after a vaccine is widely distributed.

A woman using her smart phone to make a contactless payment.

Image source: Getty Images.

In addition, 82% of SMB owners have updated their operations to meet the demand for digital payments, up from 67% in summer 2020.

The Visa survey asked what payment technologies SMBs see as critical to deploy in 2021: Forty-seven percent said security and fraud management software; 44% said contactless or mobile payment acceptance; 41% said accepting payments via mobile device; 36% said installments or "buy now, pay later" features; and 31% said digital backend payment operations.

"With greater hindsight into 2020, we can clearly see that the digital payment experiences that excelled the most – contactless and eCommerce – were driven out of necessity and have become more habitual in people's daily lives at a pace not often seen," according to Kevin Phalen, global head of business solutions at Visa.

Visa also polled consumers and found that 65% would prefer to use contactless payments as much as, or even more than, they are currently. Only 16% said that they would revert to their old payment methods after the pandemic. Further, 47% said they won't shop at stores that don't offer contactless payments.

It's further evidence that the war on cash is accelerating.

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