Fighting COVID-19 in Africa with Contactless Payments
The impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on businesses across the world is indisputable. In Africa, those worst hit include Micro, Small and Medium Enterprises (MSMEs), widely acknowledged as the backbone of African economic advancement. Lockdowns at the start of the pandemic across the continent affected businesses, many of which still relied on the traditional architecture of brick-and-mortar stores. The realities of the pandemic have forced many MSMEs to re-strategize as consumers across the continent change their shopping habits in response to increased safety, comfort and convenience concerns. Indeed, a recent study showed that only 68% of consumers visit shops for essential shopping, with more people now shopping online. Contactless payments help reduce the need for cash during in-person transactions in the midst of nationwide quarantines and afterwards, as the continent works towards rebuilding economic growth.
Going Contactless with Visa
As the world continues the fight against the spread of Covid-19, Visa’s initiatives will continue to provide merchants and consumers with more secure and convenient means of transacting. The pandemic prompted an unprecedented surge in eCommerce transactions, with more consumers choosing to shop online especially as some retailers temporarily closed their physical stores. While the current circumstances have radically changed consumers’ shopping patterns and prompted merchants to go online quickly, consumer expectations have remained the same. They want secure and seamless payment experience, especially now with online fraud on the rise. Visa Secure, Visa’s new program governing online transactions uses the EMV 3-D Secure industry-wide messaging standard that merchants and issuing banks must follow to verify cardholder identity before a transaction is sent for authorization.
Another initiative is Visa’s contactless payments solution – through partnerships with government and industry partners in 26 countries across Europe, the Middle East and Africa, customers are able to now tap to pay using their card, mobile phone or contactless wearable device for purchases. Already, one in every three face-to-face transactions that run over Visa’s global network is contactless and in almost 50 countries, contactless payments represent at least a third of all face-to-face transactions. This figure is substantially higher in the Central Europe Middle East and Africa region where more than seven out of every 10 transactions are already made using contactless cards or devices. The opportunities are therefore endless for more African governments, merchants and vendors to explore, as contactless payments provide the confidence to make essential purchases while at the same time delivering a safe and secure experience, especially during these challenging times.