The novel coronavirus could just be the trigger that the world needs in order to leave behind traditional wallets and physical money. For many years now, the tech industry has been pushing for a more digital form of finances, a world that does not rely on paper bills or coins or even credit cards but rather an easier and arguably more secure form of cash management.
And for a long time, people were apprehensive of the idea since physical money is, in fact, more accessible, and its tangibility could be considered somewhat comforting.
The world is hopeful that the COVID-19 pandemic would soon die out, but even if it does, it won’t change the fact that the novel coronavirus, the SARS-CoV-2, has already left its mark. A few years from now or even decades, society will always remember the fear that came with physical contact during the pandemic season and how easy it is to spread disease.
People would be warier, and this caution would no doubt precipitate the need for cashless modes of transaction. Cash is filthy, and according to studies, a single paper bill could contain up to 26,000 bacterial colonies. A study conducted by LendEDU reveals how credit cards contain more microbes than physical money
. Now add that knowledge to the novel coronavirus, and people would be jumping towards digital wallets in no time.
Six years ago, Apple CEO Tim Cook introduced Apple Pay, which is basically a service that stores people’s credit card information and gives them the ability to make monetary transactions using the iPhone. For six years, the service didn’t manage to hook the public as much as Apple thought it would, but with the COVID-19 highlighting the importance of social distancing, the service is definitely at an all-time high.
Given the climate of things, people are starting to change their paying habits, and the tech industry knows this. Even before the pandemic, it should be noted that most major credit cards were already associated with digital wallets provided by the likes of Samsung, Google, and Apple. Most shopping is being done online, and even ordering food has become digital.
Google, for instance, is reportedly working with Citigroup in order to establish a debit card that could compete with the Apple Card. Furthermore, the tech giant is also working with Amazon in developing checking account-like products.
Facebook, for one, wants the eradication of traditional banks with its Libra project, which is focused on cryptocurrency such as bitcoin. Amazon, one of the largest e-commerce companies in the world, is also reportedly in talks with JPMorgan chase for what seems to be the same idea as to its fellow tech giants. The fact is that even before novel coronavirus, the world was already moving towards a more digital way of cash management, and the pandemic would no doubt speed up the process.
Paypal probably had started it all, and the trust it had built for over two decades is paving the way for other companies to follow.
Images courtesy of Nathan Dumlao/Unsplash
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