What Are “Socially Distanced Payments”?

While the CDC has issued guidance for businesses and individuals on the implementation of practices that support social distancing, such as the use of mobile apps for digital payments, the idea of digital payments isn’t a new one… even before COVID-19, online shopping was exploding in adoption.

In fact, according to a Federal Reserve study, the number of check payments fell below the number of automated clearing house debit transfers for the first time ever in 2018. Retail websites such as Amazon and Ebay, and payment apps such as Venmo and the Cash App, have accelerated adoption across the globe by making it easy to transact while mobile. “Electronic payment is up, and cash handling and checks are trending down… we don’t see that changing anytime soon.” - Jason Thacker, Head of U.S. Deposits & Consumer Payments, TD Bank

Point-Of-Sale Without Point-Of-Contact

Beyond growth in the volume and value of digital and mobile payments, though, socially distanced payments, also known as “contactless mobile payments”, are quickly finding broad acceptance in this new age - a protracted period of intentional, focused purchases is simultaneously reinforcing contactless use in markets where adoption is more mature and stimulating use in newer markets, such as Canada and the United States, where user growth had been previously sluggish.

People around the world are now seeking touch-free payment experiences for everyday purchases such as groceries, pharmacy orders and essentials. Our concerns around handling cash, inserting or swiping at point-of-sale terminals, and touching payment keypads during checkout have created new behaviors likely to be permanent: in a recent Mastercard global consumer study it was shown that 8 in 10 are using contactless payments and that 74% of study respondents expect to continue to use contactless payment methods post-pandemic. In addition, 56.8% of 2,000 U.S. and Canadian consumers surveyed in a recent study said it was “very important” to offer mobile app features that help consumers avoid using in-store touchpads.

“Social distancing does not just concern people’s interactions with each other; it includes contact with publicly shared devices like point of sale terminals and checkout counters. Contactless offers consumers a safer, cleaner way to pay, speed at checkout, and more control over physical proximity at this critical time.” - Blake Rosenthal, Executive Vice President and Head of Mastercard Acceptance Solutions.

Socially Distanced Payments Require Simplicity

Merchants will have to accommodate a drastic and permanent shift to mobile and contactless shopping. As businesses pivot to remote operations and consumers seek touch-free payment experiences, however, the complexity of local payment structures becomes a bottleneck in the growth of new ideas and businesses - there are over 450 significant local payment methods across the globe! For example, APAC is dominated by e-wallets such as Alipay, WeChat Pay and GrabPay, while LATAM consumers rely on cash-based payment methods such as OXXO and Boleto Bancario, or even locally issued credit cards.

There is a clear and immediate need for improved simplicity and convenience in global payments structures. While cryptocurrencies allow users to avoid physical transactions and facilitate the effortless transfer of value between borders, they do not, except in the case of Divi, serve as a one-stop shop for critical financial services.

Divi’s best-in-class mobile wallet app allows users to accomplish tasks typically only handled in-branch and at traditional banks. At full-capacity the Divi mobile wallet will allow users to open a bank account with one-click, quickly send wire transfers around the world, exchange between multiple crypto and fiat currencies, automate transactions, set-up multiple node types and droplets for storing data, run full Bitcoin and Lightning Network nodes, and more. “For example, a user could set an incoming crypto address to automatically break up all incoming funds into a variety of new value tokens, such as 10% Bitcoin, 20% gold-pegged token, 20% DIVI, 50% Tether.” - Geoffrey McCabe, Divi Co-founder.

Divi truly is “Crypto Made Easy!” Click here for an opportunity to participate in Divi’s new mobile wallet launch.