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Cash transactions can cause coronavirus spread? Expert suggests how to make payments

Novel Coronavirus may spread through currency notes, credit and debit cards, according to the World Health Organisation.

Cash transactions can cause coronavirus spread? Expert suggests how to make payments
Can currency use cause coronavirus? Representational image

Novel Coronavirus may spread through currency notes, credit and debit cards, according to the World Health Organisation. To stop the spread of the disease, which is still in early stages in India, through these modes of payments, it is probably the high time to start using contactless payment systems like UPI, IMPS, RTGS, Mobile wallets and Net banking, experts feel.

Mandar Agashe, MD and Founder of leading banking technology provider Sarvatra Technologies, today told FE Online that adopting contactless payment methods can help in stopping the spread of coronavirus through contact-based methods of transactions.

“Contactless payments is the way to tide over the current tough times. It is believed that the novel Coronavirus can stay on surfaces in their fully active state for days. In this context, physical cash handling as a daily routine, is being considered as a major cause of concern for risk of contamination. While the WHO hasn’t explicitly corroborated this, a statement issued by it says it is ‘advisable to use contactless payments to reduce the risk of transmission.’”

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According to Agashe, India is still in the early stages of the coronavirus outbreak and many precautionary measures are being taken to prevent the spread. “However, considering the current situation, contactless payments could be the way ahead and payment modes like UPI, IMPS, RTGS, Mobile wallets and Net banking could contribute effectively in reducing human interactions,” he said.

The Sarvatra Technology founder said that many companies, who have been undergoing a digital transformation, or promoting new technologies such as self-checkout(eg- lifestyle stores), will see more rapid adoption of digital payments to reduce the risks of transmitting the virus through human interactions.

Sterlize Cash!

Talking about other measures to prevent the spread of Coronavirus through Currency notes, Agashe pointed out – physical cash being sterilized before release to customers, incentives on using digital payments amongst others.

“Building proper awareness and education around contactless payment besides undertaking other preventive measures can help us collectively combat the risks involved. This will also encourage India to bring a shift in their everyday habits, facilitating financial inclusion at a macro level,” Agashe said.

“Adopting contactless payment methods can cause a drastic change in payment habits, as consumers shift to digital channels to reduce their risk of infection from handling cash,” he added.

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