Wednesday, April 22nd, 2020
Every pandemic is like a double edge sword that cuts both sides. But with the far-reaching negative impacts of COVID-19, it is easy to ignore the few positives of the virus that’s got the globe in quagmire throughout Q1 of 2020.
WHO, Governments and doctors have all advised people to keep off the use of paper-based currencies and touch-dependent public POS systems and ATMs. That piece of invaluable advice will help citizens avoid contact and control the spread of the coronavirus. But how do we move on with our lives even as we avoid contact? The answer is technology.
So does that mean digital payments, particularly contactless transactions, have an unprecedented chance to grow amid a global crisis?
Fintechs and finance groups are working with authorities to help the world go contactless.
UK Finance, (a United Kingdom financial group) also thought initiating more contactless payments could help citizens avoid touching paper money and publicly-shared terminals or ATMs.
As a result, it raised the spending cap for contactless by 50 percent. So since April 1, UK citizens have been paying for items worth up to £45 (around $53) “contactlessly” by simply tapping or waving a card. And without the need to type or key in a pin.
Late last month, The Wall Street Journal featured a letter from a medical expert warning that the lethal virus is now spreading from nation to nation. He further went ahead to recommend that “the rapid implementation of contactless credit card devices … would be cost-effective and help to prevent the spread of many viral infections…”
In January, Visa mentioned that contactless made 1/3 of its global card-present payments, which is an increase, compared to ¼ in 2019. And though contactless adoption remains low in the United States, other companies like NYC’s Metropolitan Transportation Authority, are working to roll out systems that take general-use contactless cards.
“Contactless cards are way safer because users do not come in contact with the reader, and nobody else touches the card in most cases,” says Randy Vanderhoof, executive director of Secure Technology Alliance.
Still, he warns that not all contactless payments are free-of-contact. Sometimes a debit card user is prompted to key in a PIN by touching a screen. Whether a PIN applies or not depends on the card issuer.
So far, going contactless has helped reduced contact with paper money and touch-dependent POS systems at a time when social distancing is a priority. ATMs have not reported any significant effects due to the contactless disruption but let’s hope everyone is taking care.
Topics discussed in this article:
- contactless payments