Cash has always been the priority choice for most consumers when making purchases, while payment by card or other means has always been secondary. However, in recent years, the advance of technology and the increase in the payment functionalities of various devices, such as smartphones, have provided a significant advantage for their gradual expansion.
In recent months, the COVID-19 pandemic has caused a change in trend among users and businesses themselves. Since the beginning of the crisis, both banks and small and large businesses have promoted e-commerce - online shopping - and payment through means such as Contactless - technology based on the NFC chip that allows payment to be made simply by bringing a card or compatible device close to the POS terminal - to avoid direct contact with money or with the POS itself.
Part of this change has come about because of the fear among consumers of becoming infected with COVID-19 through cash. However, both the World Health Organisation (WHO) and the European Central Bank (ECB) have denied that the use of banknotes and coins has facilitated the transmission of the coronavirus and claim that the likelihood of infection by such means is really low.
Even so, fear seems to be the main driving force behind this increase in the use of electronic means of payment, according to a recent report by the Universitat Oberta de Catalunya (Open University of Catalonia, UOC): "In some areas, such as public buses in Valencia, Zaragoza, Malaga or Madrid, it is not even possible to pay in cash".
"Cash has a tendency to become residual. It may not be short term, but it is in the medium to long term," according to some statements to the media ElPeriódico made by Juan Carlos Gázquez, lecturer at the UOC. From his point of view, the market has been positioning itself for some time for the gradual decline in the use of coins and notes, due to several factors, such as new technologies and the increase in the restrictions imposed to prevent money laundering.
As we commented, since the declaration of the state of alarm, cash withdrawals at ATMs in banks such as Caixabank have decreased by more than 40%, while the general decline in credit and debit card payments has decreased by 30%.
Throughout April, several sectors have seen their payments through POS increased extraordinarily compared to the same period of time last year 2019.
In areas such as supermarkets and pharmacies, billing through cards or similar has increased by 65% according to data from the aforementioned Caixabank.In relation to this data, it should be noted that Spanish banks, on the recommendation of the European Banking Authority (EBA), increased the maximum thresholds for transactions through Contactless from 20 to 50 euros per sale. This measure will remain in force during the coronavirus crisis and has been made possible thanks to the collaboration of financial institutions with the processors Cecabank and Redsys, according to reports from the Antenna 3.
However, it should be noted that this payment system will continue to maintain the security, control and enhanced authentication measures that involve having to type in the pin when 150 euros in expenses or five operations in a row are accumulated for greater customer security.
Outside Spain, the trend is also clear in countries such as Germany, where a recent survey has revealed that 57% of German consumers have increased their use of credit and debit cards during the pandemic, and almost half of them have "significantly" reduced their use of cash.
According to statements collected by the BBC In relation to this data, Georg Hauer, general manager for Germany, Austria and Switzerland of the German bank N26, stated that his institution registered a 56% drop in ATM withdrawals during the first month of quarantine in Germany, compared to the previous month.
At Intelligent Data we are aware of the gradual transition between cash and electronic payment methods. For this reason, we have been working in recent years on the design of a multidisciplinary All in One POS terminal, the ID42.
ID42 is presented as a reliable and robust integrated workstation with the ability to manage different forms of collection according to the needs of the operator, through the latest technical advances such as the aforementioned Contacless technology.
Intelligent Data's 25 years of experience in the industry and the Android operating system integrated into this device allow complete customization of the terminal to suit customer needs and possible changes in the medium to long term demanded by the current market.
Finally, in our effort to make the work of the terminal operators easier and to bring together all the necessary peripherals in a single device, we have added to the ID42 a euro banknote validator to detect possible counterfeits.