71% of CFOs Sped Up Digital Payment Adoption in the Pandemic

Virtual card payments are up while check and cash payments are down: Payments are officially going remote.

About seven in ten chief financial officers have worked to increase their business’ payment digitization efforts since the COVID-19 pandemic began in March 2020, a new survey has found.

The survey’s findings indicate that more and more businesses are moving towards digital records as a way to streamline record-keeping, with 38% of CFOs citing the improvement of their balance sheets as the reason behind their digitization.

This trend is yet another sign that the new normal for businesses and customers will look very different from the old normal, with the start of the ongoing pandemic marking a big cultural shift.

CFOs and the Pandemic

The new stats come from a survey of 400 CFOs, conducted between Aug. 16 and Sept. 15 by payments software service Corcentric along with the trade publication PYMNTS. These CFOs weren’t small fries, either. They’re all from organizations generating between $400 million and $2 billion in annual revenue, with operations in five industries — retail and trade, finance and insurance, industrial/manufacturing, healthcare, and travel/transportation.

Now, 18 months into the pandemic, 85% of them say their businesses process more card-enabled digital payments now than before.

“CFOs are investing in payments digitization in large part because they believe doing so can improve the health of their balance sheets,” the survey states. “Most CFOs believe that payments digitization is integral to a healthy balance sheet, and 38 percent say they accelerated digitization with their balance sheets in mind. CFOs invest in payments digitization for other reasons as well.”

Other key reasons behind the boost in payment digitization include improving efficiency and both attracting and retaining customers.

Virtual card payments are also up, while more than half the CFOs contacts are sending and receiving fewer physical check and cash payments.

We’re More Remote-Friendly Than Ever

The pandemic pushed us all into a remote world of virtual Zoom meetings and sweatpants, whether we wanted it to or not. As a result, a lot of businesses realized that their employees really can thrive in a remote environment, and that’s likely the biggest culture shift the business world will see from the pandemic’s impact overall.

As a result, the importance of the internet infrastructure is being increasingly acknowledged as well. Just this month, Airbnb introduced a “Verified WiFi” feature, a speed test tool that confirms the accuracy of the WiFi speed claimed by a listing — that’s a big boon for remote workers who might need a trustworthy connection to carry out video meetings.

Digital payment records can be accessible online, making the growth of remote work a natural fit for an increasing interest in these types of payments.

Adopting Digital Payments

Not all businesses can be earning revenues between $400 million and $2 billion annually, but for smaller operations, the shift towards digital payments and the balance sheet benefits that come with them are easier than ever.

Retailers or restaurants can just get a Point of Sale system in order to track all digital payments while recording cash payments digitally as well. All the POS systems we’ve reviewed also offer data tracking and analysis, letting companies generate P&L reports and other data collection with the touch of a button. Here’s a table with a few options worth considering, with prices and features listed for easy comparison:

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Vend POS

Square POS

Talech POS

Revel POS

Erply POS

Shopify POS

Clover POS

Epos Now



Best to track and train employees

Best for small retail stores and pop-ups

Best small business growth features

Best for CRM tools

Best for small franchises

Best for omnichannel sellers

Best for established retail stores

Best for omnichannel sellers

Best for omnichannel sellers

Free (but transaction fees apply)


Free (without inventory)

$14.95 (with transaction fees + no hardware)

$449 (one-time fee)

Works with a range of of third-party periperals.

Sold by Square, separately or bundled. Works with most leading brands and has a great free trial.

Available through third-party vendors.

Offers a preconfigured POS terminal with an iPad and tablet stand, a router, a printer, and a cash drawer.

Works with loads of hardware options

Sold by Shopify, but also works with iPads and Android tablets.

Sells everything from full cash stations to mobile card readers.

Works with a range of of third-party periperals.

Specialized hardware available. Not compatible with weighing scales.

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Written by:
Adam is a writer at Tech.co and has worked as a tech writer, blogger and copy editor for more than a decade. He was a Forbes Contributor on the publishing industry, for which he was named a Digital Book World 2018 award finalist. His work has appeared in publications including Popular Mechanics and IDG Connect, and his art history book on 1970s sci-fi, 'Worlds Beyond Time,' is out from Abrams Books in July 2023. In the meantime, he's hunting down the latest news on VPNs, POS systems, and the future of tech.
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