There can be no revolution without controversy, of course some economists and market experts have warned us about the shortcomings of hard cash. Today we see PoS transactions with contactless systems as a common. Contactless monetary transactions seem to have financial and security benefits, that was clear. Today, this contactless concept of financial exchange seems the „gold standard“ if it comes to more hygienic payments. Disease transmission rates become a factor in payment systems not only because of the most recent spread of COVID-19.

Physical money means physical contact

Not surprising, physical contact plays a huge role in disease transmission. Things such as doorknobs, coins, cards, handles of public vehicles, become highly inclined to recent viruses and microbes. Are we aware of the impact of physical money when it comes to mean estimated transmission rates .

The implications to our daily life seem like on your fingertips and need a reconsideration if you still want to touch physical money or even cards in your PoS transactions.

Recent Studies

According to recent studies conducted by Princeton University, University of California and the CDCP, corona viruses can stay on copper and cardboard surfaces for up to 24 hours. Furthermore, steel- and glass surfaces can host them for 6-9 days! That suggests that coins and bank notes might have a considerable risk of transmitting the SARS COV-2. Even if you use cards for payments, you still touch the surface of counters PoS and ATM since they are typically made of stainless steel or plastic. That way, you can easily carry the corona virus without even knowing.

Paper based bank notes seem not very much of an alternative. According to a chemical survey, 8 out of 10 notes had traces of cocaine on them. Moreover, they also had traces of saliva, which is probably a result of counting notes.

That emphasizes why experts suggest more and more that using digital or contactless cash beside even blockchain based currencies have fundamental benefits in times of social distancing.

Advantages of Wireless Transactions over Physical Money

In the era of COVID-19, contactless transactions play out their benefits over any type of hard cash and physical money at the counter.

You are completely safe from contracting germs since these transactions require no physical contact. Whereas, many people handle physical currency. You can’t know if a coin was in touch with an infected person or not.

People dont want to stand in queues in front of ATMs anymore. The process of getting and using physical money more and more violates the paradigm of social distancing. Imagine an ATMs screen, which has a very high chance of being contaminated with the coronavirus. On the other hand, ATMs become in fact obsolete, when people widely start using wireless transactions.

These points mentioned above spark heated debate on physical money vs. contactless systems. And in these times of a global pandemic, we have a clear winner.

What are the Alternatives?

In this paragraph we look into many alternatives to physical money and PoS transactions. Let us have a look at some of them.

  • Firstly, one of the most widely used alternatives is mobile wallets. These are the smartphone applications that integrate with your bank accounts. They act as an intermediate option to facilitate transactions. They have a very easy user interface and are highly secure. The most common examples are GooglePay and ApplePay.
  • Secondly, avoid any physical contact while performing PoS transactions, by using the contactless systems. NFC is the abbreviation for Near-field Communication and works on radiofrequency . You will find them primarily in the UK but there is a significant growth all over the world. In fact NFC is omnipresent due to smartphone apps such as SamsungPay, GooglePay, and ApplePay support NFC payments.
    In addition, paying through scanning QR codes is another contactless payment alternative. However, QR code payment is a relatively new concept, but extensively used e.g. it in Walmart Pay.
  • Thirdly, and most importantly, the discussion of digital transactions is not complete without blockchain based currencies. Bitcoin and ether wallet are the prime examples of these transactions. On the contrary, these currencies can also act as an speculative investment because of the constant fluctuations in their prices.
  • Moreover, you can also find payment gateways when it comes to the new generation of local currency. Coming via plug-ins and APIs or as part of custom applications, they are contactless and very versatile. You typically use a ‘top-up’ option to load fiat money into the local system. Typical gatewaysare Wyre, Ramp, Coindirect, Moonpay, etc.

Conclusion

In conclusion, any provider of new payments need to take care of of bank regulations. And there are various regulations already for debit cards, smart cards, wire transfers, etc. 

Many fintech companies are working on new methods of wireless transactions. Any of the touchless methods become very useful today. They skip the physical ontact and thus can’t compromise your personal hygiene, which is paramount these days.

Due to the COVID-19 situation, we find a significant increase in the use of contactless payment options. People are simply more aware of contaminations as a coincidence of payments with physical money.

This pandemic has taken us on the verge of adopting contactless transaction methods. Who knows, it might change the course of payment methods forever.

This content is also available in: English (Englisch)

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