Rise in the use of online payments during Covid crisis

The majority of coverage on the Covid-19 crisis tends to focus on the changes it has brought about in our lives — such as the limits on our social and working activities or our ability to leave the house. However, there are hundreds of other less immediately obvious ways in which the pandemic has changed our day-to-day routines.

You might have noticed one of these changes when shopping recently, with businesses being encouraged to switch to card, contactless or online payments as a way of minimising the spread of the virus. Using chip and pin, credit card, or contactless payments, in particular, allows us to significantly cut down human-to-human contact. This is crucial to stopping the spread of the virus given that it has been shown that the virus can live for days on a variety of surfaces — with physical cash being a prime culprit.

As such, businesses across the world, and in Canada have stopped accepting cash as a payment method and have instead shifted entirely to contactless and credit card payments, or even online payments. As evidence of this shift, e-payment services and card issuers such as Visa and Mastercard have been reporting huge increases in the volume of payments they are processing on a daily basis.

This has led many to view this shift as the final nail in the coffin of physical cash, with industry experts predicting an increase in the rate at which we are heading towards a cashless society — a move that has been all but completed in countries like Sweden and many parts of Asia.

For the most part, businesses have been supportive of this move, with many either moving online for the first time or strengthening their online payment infrastructure. Online payment service providers such as ecoPayz have noted this trend amongst their client base. Playcasinos.ca says about ecoPayz “Due to this convenience, wide-spread use, and security – many Canadian online casinos have taken ecoPayz on as one of their primary banking methods. For this reason, CA players gravitate towards ecoPayz as their payment option of choice”.

In economically fragile times like these, and with no end to the restrictions in sight, the relationships between payment services providers and front-line businesses are more important than ever. Making sure there are payment systems in place that stay in line with public health advice has become a matter of critical importance as we wait for a vaccine to become available.

Right now, it’s far too early to tell what the long-term effects of the move to online and contactless payments will be. While there is a chance that consumers will simply return back to the 'old normal' once the restrictions are lifted, it is equally likely that new behaviours will have taken root.