Working in the time of COVID

by | Jun 1, 2020 | Newsletter | 0 comments

As both mandated and voluntary changes of payment behaviour swept around the world following the SARS-COV-2 virus, a few trends have been observed:

  • Remote payment growth (outside of curtailed sectors such as Travel & Hospitality)

From the dramatic such as a fivefold increase in mobile transactions in Rwanda[1] following changes of policies and the lock-down, to those already well prepared such as mainland China where as the Economist reported[2] customers pay US$49trn through mobile payments, up 35 times since 2013 and making life even pre-Covid almost impossible without access as cash no longer accepted, as a BBC correspondent Ceclia Hatton described last September[3]

  • Concerns over cash, which lead to the Bank of International Settlements publishing a report assessing the risk, the need for maintaining access to cash for sectors of the community un- or under-served by digital access and the likely impact on contactless/digital.[4]

  • For those markets still heavily reliant on cards and with widespread acceptance infra-structure, a preference for contactless card face to face purchases, with Visa reporting at the end of March 2020 “almost 60% of face-to-face transactions excluding the United States were tapto-pay, and tap-to-pay transactions grew over 40% year-over-year”[5].

In addition to these, personally here in Hong Kong, even for cash withdrawals, those banks that have introduced QR based cardless cash withdrawal, have an ideal way minimise contact, despite the reassurance of regular sterilisation of the surfaces[6]



[2] Economist May 9th 2020 – Speical Report International Banking – Payment Systems ‘Piping Up’ page 10






Meet Author

Antony Morris

Managing Director – Industrie & Co Asia