COVID-19 – A Firm Reason to Give up Cash

In the first post of our series on cashless after COVID-19, Art Stewart, Global Head of Sales & Marketing, IDEX Biometrics, discusses why now is the time to give up cash.

The march of alternative payment methods to cash has been ongoing for many years. Credit cards, debit cards, PIN technology, mobile payments and contactless have all been in use for some time. However, it is the global pandemic which has caused the acceleration towards a cashless economy, which will bring both security and safety benefits.

With the World Health Organisation advising the use of contactless technology to prevent the spread of the virus, hygiene concerns around the use of cash have never been greater. By how many people is each banknote or coin handled each day? How long can the virus remain live on surfaces others have touched? Some early research around Coronavirus suggests it survives for 48 hours on bank notes, so using cash and touching payment terminals both pose hygiene issues for consumers post-Covid. If now is the time to give up cash, how do we make paying for goods and services secure and hygienic in a post-COVID world?

The Biometric Contactless Smart Card

The answer sits with the contactless smart card embedded with a fingerprint sensor. The technology around fingerprint biometric authorisation means that the user has total peace of mind over both how they pay, and their data.

Touch-free payment removes the hygiene and safety issues around cash that we have already discussed. It is clear that consumers want to continue using touch-free, however, contactless payment is still open to fraudulent transactions and the payment limits on smart cards also pose an issue for consumers.

The Smart Card Solution

Incorporating a fingerprint sensor adds a whole new level of security to the contactless smart card without any sacrifices to ease of use. Fingerprint biometrics create a physical bond between a user and their account making contactless transactions highly secure, protecting consumers and safeguarding their data, as well as their funds.

The public are much more accepting of biometric authentication in recent years, with the advent of fingerprint and face recognition biometrics used by mobile providers. With the growing acceptance of this technology, it makes sense to extend its use to improve the usability of smart payment cards. These cards are convenient for the end-user: light and therefore portable; hygienic with no need to handle cash or touch a payment terminal; no need to have ownership of an expensive smart phone; fully secure.

And so, it is this final part of the puzzle that will bring the change in consumer behaviour and make finally giving up cash a possibility. A payment method that is secured with a fingerprint sensor brings ultimate security to the payments industry as well as safety to the public.