In a pandemic that threatens the whole world such as the Coronavirus (Covid-19), every applicable solution is utilised to keep most people, if not all, safe.
For Covid-19, keeping distance and avoiding contact are some of the ways the spread of the virus can be stopped, which has infected over 423,000 people globally and claimed the lives of over 19,000 people.
In Kenya, one of the best ways to avoid contact is through cashless transactions, which is available through card payments and mobile money such as M-Pesa, Airtel Money and Telkom Money.
Very few people use cards to pay for goods and services in Kenya, leaving mobile money as the biggest avenue to explore cashless, contactless transactions.
Cashless transactions have proved to be convenient both to the service provider and the end user. Almost every business from the big corporate giants to your local kiosk accept different payment options from their consumers.
The biggest mobile money service provider in Kenya is M-Pesa, which according to data from the Communications Authority of Kenya (CA) had 30 million subscribers by April 2019.
If you are too busy to catch a break and withdraw some money, you can still shop, dine or fuel using M-Pesa by using the Lipa na M-pesa option or sending money directly to the recipient. You can also swipe your visa card and for online transactions, options such as Paypal and Pesapal will come in handy.
City commuters will now pay their bus fare using M-Pesa. In a partnership between City Star Shuttle and Safaricom, the 300 vehicles service will now accept payment from commuters by having them send money directly to the phone number of the crew. The move is aimed at encouraging cashless transactions to curb the spread of the novel Coronavirus.
Since the outbreak of the novel Coronavirus in Kenya, the government urged traders to embrace Cashless transactions to help combat the spread of the disease in the country. Players in the financial sector were encouraged to cut their transaction costs to encourage more Kenyans to go cashless.
Bank to M-Pesa transactions and other mobile money transfer fees have been waived by most banks. Safaricom announced that their customers can send money for free for all transactions of Ksh1,000 and below for a period of 90 days.This will reduce the risk of spreading the COVID-19 through bank notes from person to person.
Small traders such as Mama Mboga (green grocers) and others in the Jua Kali sector and transport industry who sell wares or provide services for Ksh1000 or less will benefit from having their customers pay for their product easily, and at no cost.
M-Pesa to bank or M-Shwari transactions also allow the trader to deposit money to their account seamlessly and with no contact. Online shopping mall Jumia have also introduced contactless delivery by encouraging shoppers to go cashless. If you pay for your shopping using M-Pesa, the delivery associate will leave your product at your doorstep and wait for you to pick it up before they leave.
Since the first case of the novel Coronavirus reported in Kenya on March 12, the government has put in more effort to curb the spread of the illness. Almost every establishment, Matatu and Kibanda are offering sanitizers and hand washing options. The number of passengers in all public transport vehicles have also been reduced to discourage close contact between people.
Supermarkets such as Carrefour have also marked out 1.5 metres to maintain distance between shoppers.
The current number of infections stands at 25 with Kenyans being encouraged to take more precaution by staying indoors and working from home.
Cashless transactions have not only reduced trips to and from the banks but with millions of Kenyans connected to M-Pesa, your money is available instantly and you can carry on your usual transactions securely.