The COVID-19 pandemic (coronavirus) has placed a strain on the global economy. Social distancing, limited public gatherings, and reduced business hours have been recommended — at least for the coming weeks. Some businesses are even beginning to request that consumers stop using cash out of fear of dirty banknotes that could spread germs. This despite a recent World Health Organization (WHO) statement that said, “WHO did NOT say banknotes would transmit COVID-19, nor have we issued any warnings or statements about this.”
The Louvre in Paris banned the use of cash earlier this month. Recently the Mackinac Bridge, the fifth longest suspension bridge in the world, said it will stop accepting cash for those that cross over it, due to coronavirus concerns. Despite the aforementioned steps taken by some businesses, this is not the time to panic.
Especially when there are payment methods available to us right now that we can use in place of the physical exchange of banknotes from one hand to another, like credit and debit cards. While you’ll still want to exercise caution with credit card payments, for instance regularly cleaning your payment devices with CDC-approved cleaners, they do offer enhanced convenience and a more streamlined payment experience when compared to cash payments. Credit and debit cards also offer certain levels of protection that limit the card user’s liabilities of fraudulent charges if a card is stolen. If cash is stolen, there are little to no guarantees that money will be returned to the owner.
Long story short: not being able to use cash is not as bad as some consumers might think, and while some will still prefer to use cash, paying with a credit or debit card should not be an inconvenience to most customers — in fact, consumers can build up loyalty points depending on which credit card they use.
Is contactless NFC right for my business?
Contactless near-field communication (NFC) payments, or mobile wallet payments, are another excellent alternative to using cash or a credit card to make purchases at this particular time and anytime. In addition to their being no contact between merchant and customer, ability to make a payment using a smartphone offers greater levels of convenience and security.
Payments made with a mobile wallet require the consumer (user of the mobile device) to authorize the payment, often by unlocking the mobile device with a fingerprint or facial recognition measures that are features of many contemporary smart devices. This offers enhanced levels of security when compared to swiping or dipping a credit card, and far greater security when compared to pulling out a wallet full of cash.
So, if you are thinking about ways to enhance the overall safety and security of your business, and your customers, contactless NFC payments are another great way to offer flexibility in the type of payments you can accept, and help to reduce person-to-person interaction when completing a payment transaction.
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