Minimize the Pandemic Spread with Touch-Free Payments

In the second post in our series on cashless after COVID-19, Art Stewart, Global Head of Sales & Marketing, IDEX Biometrics, discusses how to minimize the pandemic spread with touch-free payments.

The huge effect that COVID-19 has had on all aspects of life cannot be under-estimated. At the time of writing, many countries are still in lockdown with uncertainty around the roadmap back to a more ‘normal’ way of life. Scientists and politicians alike agree that we will need to get used to living with Coronavirus, so what does that mean for the future of the payments industry?

The problem with cash

Shopping, previously an enjoyable leisure pursuit for many, has suddenly changed beyond recognition. With shopping malls closed for weeks on end, consumers have had time to re-evaluate how they shop and suddenly shopping seems a riskier pastime than it used to be. Not only is there the threat of the proximity of other people, but payment methods themselves pose a risk in the pandemic. With the possibility of the virus being spread by touching the same things that others have previously touched, handling cash feels unhygienic.

Card payment readers pose the same threat to our health and the public are more conscious of this than ever before, particularly after being told continuously to wash their hands to minimize the spread of the pandemic.

Do touch-free payments offer a solution?

Around the world, touch-free payments are being encouraged and the World Health Organisation have advised the use of contactless payment cards to reduce the spread of the virus. However, although the limits on contactless payment thresholds have been increased, this touch-free payment method is not without issues. There are problems with the security of this type of payment – if a card is lost or stolen, the fraudster can gain access to the owner’s funds.

Adding another level of security to touch-free payments

The importance of using contactless smart cards to help minimize the spread of COVID-19 means that they need to be made more secure. Biometric authentication technology is completely changing the landscape of touch-free payments. By adding fingerprint sensors to smart cards, a whole new level of security is introduced. Contactless payment cards become worthless to anyone other than the owner meaning that spending limits on touch-free payments can be removed. And in a world where we need to find new ways of doing things to help minimize the spread of the virus, surely now is the time to embrace this technology.


The previous post in our series on cashless after COVID-19 looked at why it is time to give up cash.