UK Embraces Contactless Payments to Control Coronavirus Spread

Tuesday, May 5th, 2020

The fear of coronavirus and the resulting extreme measures has created the perfect environment for digital payments to flourish. Contactless payments, has particularly stood out as the safe haven as customers seek to keep physical distance and avoid contact.

Governments are well aware that paper money and touch-dependent payment platforms like the POS, as well as ATM systems, may increase the spread of corona.

In response to the tragedy, UK Finance, a finance organization in the UK, has increased the contactless spending limit by 50 percent.

The new cap swung into effect on April 1 and now, customers in the UK can purchase items worth up to £45 (and not £30, as before) and pay “contactlessly.” That means you can pay by simply waving or tapping your contactless card— and won’t need to touch a screen or keypad just to type a PIN.

But while customers are more than eager tap reach the new cap, merchants have not been swift to make the upgrade. And that’s understandable with the level of disruption coronavirus has created; many retailers are still getting used to the new “order of business.”

This year’s cap increase is the second in UK’s history after a 2015 instance, when it jumped from £20 to £30. And such holdups are not strange because these shifts take some time. For instance, the 2015 limit increase only came into full effect 2 years after its launch.

Meanwhile in the US, The Wall Street Journal posted a letter from a virus expert warning that the Coronavirus is spreading faster than before. He then recommended that “the rapid enactment of contactless credit card devices … would be economical and help reduce spread of the virus…”

And while the use of contactless isn’t widespread in the United States, firms like NYC’s Metropolitan Transportation Authority, are planning to launch systems that will allow customers to pay with their general-use contactless cards.

According to UK Finance, the move to go contactless will not only help citizens avoid touch-dependent systems during corona, “it will also allow people to choose the speed and expediency of paying contactlessly, and avoid queues at the checkout.”

Final words

More than half-a-dozen other nations from all over the world have taken similar steps to the UK. Egypt, Germany, Netherlands, Norway, Poland, Saudi Arabia, and Turkey have all resorted to contactless payments amid COVID-19.

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