News & Views - Savantor

Coronavirus: impacts and repercussions

Thursday, 16 April 2020

As the coronavirus pandemic maintains its infiltration into every aspect of society, the payments world continues to be impacted by its repercussions.

Based on figures supplied by UK ATM network Link, the use of cash in Britain, already declining in the light of the pandemic and the World Health Organisation’s advice to avoid handling bank notes, halved in just a few days following the Government's imposition of a nationwide lock-down on freedom of movement.

This may well lead to a permanent and long-term change in consumer cash spending habits as well as an inevitable increase in the use of contactless.

Other actions being taken by Banks and financial institutions to mitigate the dangers of the virus and manage to operate in the new environment are also likely to signify an acceleration of change in working practices on a long-term basis.

Banks are having to minimising face-to-face contact, reducing hours and introducing social distancing requirements into their branches. The focus is on utilising internet and mobile banking if at all possible although it is recognised that special practices need to be adopted for the vulnerable sectors of society, for example with the introduction of special help lines. With the pre-Covid 19 general focus on reducing bank branches it is probable that this emphasis on digital banking will only encourage this trend moving forward.

Likewise the impact upon retail and the High Street is likely to be long-lasting and irreversible. Aside from the economic repercussions and whether businesses fold or manage to survive the current crisis, the focus is again upon shopping and transacting online. This will inevitably both impact consumer shopping habits on a long-term basis and accelerate the decline in high street shopping with its resultant consequences in town centre and urban life.

There has even been an increase in the recorded incidents of phishing attacks since the outbreak of the virus. Apparently a 667% spike in phishing attacks has been recorded, using not only common phishing tactics but also the coronavirus as a means of tricking their victims, with many of the attacks disguised as legitimate correspondence from organisations such as the World Health Organisation (WHO) and the National Health Service (NHS).

These continue to be difficult times for everyone. Savantor wishes good health to all our MarketEye readers and their families.

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Robert Lambert, Head of Cards Strategy - Permanent tsb bank - Ireland

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