During the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic, the world of finance is experiencing a disruptive period like no other to date. Traditional financial institutions like banks and similar physical locations are almost completely prohibited today and face-to-face operations are restricted to online platforms. However, in a world where FinTech was already making a great impact, its potential and demand has increased tremendously since the start of the global Coronavirus outbreak. Could this be the final push to a fully digitized finance ecosystem?
Mobile devices nowadays represent the ultimate gateway for finance during the pandemic. People should periodically disinfect their mobile phones as they are a surface like any other, and once that is done then the world of FinTech services is literally in the palm of your hand. Mobile wallets and digital finance applications allow people to make payments, transactions and pretty much anything else without any sort of physical contact with anyone else. This also applies to physical locations, where phones can be used to “wave” in front of cashier machines and ATMs without touching them. Even some credit cards can be used for contactless payments today.
And here lies the key term: contactless. In times of uncertainty like a global crisis, people throughout history have understandably went for cash as the first option. They flocked to ATMs and withdrew as much cash as possible for safety measures, in case banks were inaccessible or otherwise. Today, cash is a risky thing to have, seeing as it’s a great medium for bacteria and other germs to accumulate and get transferred from one human to another, as the cash flows in communities.
Paper money has been witnessing several treatments and disinfection methods around the world. Bank notes that made their way across borders were quarantined in some countries and in others were subjected to enough heat to decontaminate it. The WHO had previously stated that currency could be a possible carrier of the virus and the world is adapting accordingly. This places cash (and checks as well) as a risky means of payment today, where it once was the go-to choice during a crisis.
For now, it seems that going cashless is the way to go until we have a definite, comprehensive vision of where the COVID-19 situation is headed. The risk of infection is significantly lower without contact, and this should be our mode of operation until this passes. The time when cash was the norm is probably near its end, and digital payment methods are being employed more and more today. At the core of that movement is FinTech and its many applications, ranging from mobile wallets to instant cross-border transactions and beyond. Until the world overcomes these troublesome times, FinTech is the way to go.
Coronavirus, COVID-19, cashless, contactless, digital finance, cash, checks, credit cards, mobile payments
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