Goodbye bills? Canadians are starting to head back to their favourite stores as Canada's reopening plan moves forward. However, they likely won't be hitting an ATM. New data shows that people are moving more toward digital payments across the country.

According to data from Interac, first-time e-transfer users grew by 43 percent since the time the WHO declared a global pandemic.

The number of transactions overall also increased by 9 percent when compared to the same time last year.

In total, a record-breaking 61.3 million e-transfer transactions took place in Canada over the month of April.

The data also shows that businesses have been receiving 35 percent more e-transfer transactions than expected.

In addition, the use of debit for in-app and in-browser payments saw double-digit growth since the middle of March.

There was also a five percent increase in contactless Interac Flash payments since then.

While Interac's Chief Commercial Officer, William Keliehor says this is because of the pandemic he also suggests it could be forever. 

"COVID-19 is accelerating a new era in payments driven by the changing needs of Canadians and Canadian businesses, and for many, these convenient ways to pay will have a stickiness factor that will influence a long-term shift in behaviour," he said. 

Currently, businesses and customers are more able to maintain their distance when they use a contactless payment method like a credit or debit card.

In addition, cash is one of the biggest vectors for germ and bacteria transmission, according to a study published in Medscape.

However, polymer notes like the ones found in Canada are not often as bad for that. Still, some people have taken to washing their cash before they use it, according to CBC.

Essential businesses have been doing everything they can to limit the physical contact between customers and workers.

This includes installing plexiglass shields at checkouts to protect cashiers from any form of virus transmission.

Some stores have even asked customers to stop bringing in their reusable bags (unless they're using self-checkout).

Harveys has even been taping their debit machines to hockey sticks, in a move that is both extra safe and extra Canadian.

Still, non-essential businesses are starting to reopen across the country, and the strategies for doing so look different in every province.

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