Thursday, 30 April 2020

Covid-19- Are Nigerians ready to go cashless and help flatten the curve?

As this Covid-19 induced lockdown drags out globally, more businesses, as well as individuals, have gone cashless for reasons of convenience and safety in efforts to avoid spreading the coronavirus. Engaging in online commerce or using digital forms of currency to re-engineer societies around the world has been born out of necessity rather than just convenience.

Cards are germy but cash is scandalously worse, studies have shown that paper bills can contain bacteria that lead to the spread of viruses. Bills are designed to last up to 15 years giving them ample time to accumulate all sorts of germs. Experts say the virus does not spread by penetrating the skin on your hands but is transferred from the hand to parts like the mouth, nose, or eyes which is very possible after handling cash.

Cashless and contactless payments are preferred and recommended during this crisis but sticking to this could pose a threat as well because not washing hands after touching your phone, credit card, or a payment terminal makes one just as susceptible to potential infection.

The World Health Organization (WHO) released a statement on March 9th recommending that people turn to cashless transactions to fight the spread of Covid-19 resulting in a number of governments and retailers across the world taking action. China had thousands of banknotes destroyed or disinfected to eliminate the spread of the virus. South Korea followed suit, and in the US, the Federal Reserve started storing banknotes that came in from Asia before recirculating them back into the economy.

Many retailers banned the use of cash in their stores to keep employees and customers safe, opting for contactless payments instead. For those observing the lockdown, online shopping has become the safest option. Thankfully, we live in a time where some of the infrastructure required to complete online purchases is in place.


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