It’s no longer news that the world is under attack from the Covid-19 pandemic. With about 386,962 recorded cases of infection and still spreading, employing measures to curb the spread is of paramount importance.
The use of cashless methods of transaction should be an important measure to be considered. The virus can stay active on physical cash for up to 24 hours. It can easily be transmitted by just touching the contaminated surface of the cash and then rubbing one’s own face.
Curbing the spread of Covid-19
Since the Covid-19 virus broke out, Government’s and health organisations around the world are still taking measures to curb the spread of the virus. The number of reported deaths caused by the virus is about 16,750 deaths.
Some of the measures governments have taken to curb include sensitisation and educating of people to regularly and thoroughly wash their hand, avoiding the use of their hands to touch their eyes, nose and mouth and maintaining a distance of about 5 feet from coughing or sneezing people.
However, experts have said one of the effective methods to curb the pandemic is to employ social distancing by staying at home. In Nigeria, more and more people are adopting social distancing especially in the wake of increasing Infections in the country.
Many companies have adopted remote work, schools have been shut down nationally making it easier for families to perform social distancing. However, while still practising social distancing and isolation, people still need to do grocery runs among other necessities like internet and light bills.
Although the majority of the transactions in the country are done using physical cash, the continuous spread of the virus calls for the use of cashless methods of transactions as physical cash could easily be used to transfer the virus.
To prevent that and keep you and your family safe during this challenging time, here are 5 Mobile Money and Fintech Apps that can help reduce the use of physical cash for your everyday shopping and utility payment.
MoMo is the mobile money service of Nigeria’s largest telecom operator, MTN. MoMo allows users to easily send and receive money from anywhere in Nigeria.
MoMo’s network of agents has presence across all 774 local governments in the country. Also, many MoMo agents manage retail outlets making it easier to make a transaction using MoMo instead of cash.
Going to banks and ATMs to transfer money at this time may not be safe. MTN has announced that people can transfer and receive money from their neighbourhood MoMo Agents at zero transfer fees till April 19th, 2020.
MoMo has the ability to reach millions of Nigerians leveraging the reach of MTN’s expansive mobile network. Its agents are also fully equipped to deliver banking services right to millions of Nigerians.
Firstmonie is a mobile money service of FirstBank, a nationwide bank in Nigeria. There are over 32,000 Firstmonie Agents present in 754 Local Government Areas with over 500,000 unique customers daily across the country.
This provides a ready platform for Nigerians to use the mobile money platform for transactions. Many of the Firstmonie agents are shop and kiosk owners making it easy for Nigerians to make purchases without physical cash by using the Firstmonie app.
The Firstmonie app also allows users to easily pay bills like satellite tv and buy airtime on the app. SO if you are a FirstBank customer, you can readily jump on the mobile money app and start making safe transactions.
OPay is a fintech app launched by Opera. Since its premiere, OPay has leveraged on its large coffers and several verticals to become a popular fintech app in the country.
OPay now has about 40,000 agents, one of the largest agent network in the country. Thorugh its super app, OPay offers a series of financial options from payment of bills to buying and ordering of meals which could be essential during the period the country is battling a virus.
Also, many OPay agents own their own shops or retail outlet where the OPay app can be used for transactions and can be accepted as a means of payment instead of cash.
Similarly, the massive campaign OPay organised towards onboarding a lot of roadside vendors and supermarkets to adopt their platform means that many businesses, especially in Lagos and Ibadan, accept OPay as a means of payment.
Paga is a mobile payment platform that allows its users to transfer and receive money electronically for free. It also allows people to make payments through their mobile devices.
In Nigeria, Paga has about 24,000 agents through which Nigerians can easily make transactions electronically. Also, many retail outlets, especially in Lagos, accept Paga as a means of payment.
Therefore during this period of social distancing due to the spreading virus, users can easily pay for purchases without increasing the risk of contamination by exchanging physical cash.
Paga has about 15 million customers. With the current pandemic situation in the country, the startup provides a payment option that helps keep people safer.
PalmPay is a fintech app that allows you to send money for free and earn rewards while doing so. Although the startup is new to the Nigerian market, it has a huge amount of funds to leverage.
The app allows you to pay for bills like light and satellite TV. It also helps you to recharge airtime at any time from anywhere and rewards you for recharging.
During this period when staying indoors is safer, PalmPay can help pay all the utility bills with just a tap of a button.
So there you have it, 5 mobile money apps that can help you avoid using physical cash during this virus pandemic. However, if you do not have any of these apps, you can opt to use POS as a means of payment. It’s safer than exchanging cash.