WEEKLY ROUNDUP - 06.03.2020
Your Friday fix for global fintech and payments news
The question of cash and its long term relevance has been discussed among payments experts since the inception of the plastic card and its subsequent digital cousins. Now, however, this has become a hot topic of debate, in the face of recent news. This week our focus is on news that the World Health Organisation is prompting consumers to stay away from cash to prevent the spread of Coronavirus, while a blog by Chris Skinner assesses the role of cash in the future payments landscape. Here is your weekly dose of some of the biggest payments news from the past seven days so you can keep an eye on all that’s shaping our world this week.
- WHO pushes for contactless payments instead of cash to slow Covid-19
- The end of cards and cash … not yet, according to Deutsche Bank research
- Wirecard collabs to digitise business banking in Philippines
The threat of Covid-19, a form of Coronavirus is looming large and so much so, that the World Health Organisation has warned against using cash, encouraging consumers to opt instead for contactless payments on account of them being safer. As bank notes come into contact with thousands of different hands, experts are saying that the Covid-19-causing bacteria can latch onto cash in same way it does onto other surfaces. As cash can be circulated around the world during a short space of time, viruses can very quickly spread. Concerns around this have been prevalent in China, where steps to disinfect used yuan bills have already been taken. Banks have also started to use intense ultraviolet light to eliminate traces of the virus found on bank notes - as well as keeping them out of circulation for us to two weeks at a time. Could this be simply a short term blip for the circulation of cash or will it have a lasting effect on its use?
In a new blog this week on the future of the payments industry, fintech influencer Chris Skinner asks the question: is the end of cards and cash in sight? According to research from Deutsche Bank, the answer is… not yet. In January, this year, Deutsche Bank released a series of reports and projections on the years to come – how payments will evolve, what will grow, and what will fall by the wayside. Their main findings were that cash is going nowhere fast. According to Deutsche Bank, cash will be around for a long time to come, for the next couple of decades at least. Based on their insights into the history of currency, they have found that over previous centuries, people have developed a ‘deep-rooted trust in paper and coins during uncertain times’ and today is no exception. The coming decade will also mark a tremendous growth in the use of digital payments in place of plastic cards.
Fintech services firm, Wirecard, has this week announced a partnership with the UnionBank of the Philippines to improve banking services for corporate customers. Martha Borja, General Manager for Wirecard in the Philippines, commented: “As a global innovation leader in digital financial technology, we are committed to providing innovative solutions and services for cashless payments … We are delighted to collaborate with UnionBank – who not only shares the same vision as us to promote financial inclusion in the country, but is also at the forefront of digital transformation in the Philippines, embracing technological innovations to empower customers”. Borja also cited greater financial inclusion as a common goal for the two companies as their partnership progresses.