How to bank safely during a pandemic
The World Health Organisation (WHO) reports that the novel coronavirus, COVID-19 spreads mainly from person to person through small droplets from the nose or mouth which become airborne when an infected person coughs or exhales. That's why social distancing is strongly encouraged.
While airborne transmission is considered the most common way for the virus to spread, there is research that suggests that one can potentially get the disease by touching an infected object or surface and then touching one's mouth, nose, or eyes.
A study done in USA has shown that the novel coronavirus, COVID-19 can survive from a few hours to several days outside of its host, us. Findings suggest that the virus could stay alive on door handles, plastic-coated or laminated worktops, cellphones, computer keyboards and other hard surfaces.
The ability of this virus to live for so long outside of the human body reinforces the extreme hand hygiene and rigorous sanitisation of workspaces and public surfaces encouraged by the NICD (National Institute of Communicable Diseases). What does this mean for banking, where paper and plastic pass from hand to hand over and over again? Could cash be a source of transmission? Are bank cards cesspools of the deadly coronavirus? What about ATMs? Branches?
Don't panic; here are some tips to make banking and transacting in this time of lockdown safe:
Cash is not King
Pay with your card as much as you can. You want to avoid touching cash as you don't know who was exposed to the banknotes previously. If you have to deal with cash – like supporting your local small business or paying for transport services – keep a small bottle of hand sanitiser available to use both before and after you handle cash.
Use Tap to Pay
If you must use your card, use Tap to Pay. Don't let anyone else handle your card. If someone else must handle your card, wash or sanitise both your hands and the card before and after use. And remember that any transaction over R500 will require that you enter your PIN. If you must enter your PIN, wash and sanitise your hands, before and after.
If possible avoid ATMs and branches
ATMs and branches are high-traffic public spaces that are better avoided, especially during lockdown. And, almost all of our banking services are available and possible through online platforms and apps. We recommend registering for and using these self-service options if you're not already doing so.
While we encourage you to avoid branches, we understand that this is not always possible. And, your wellbeing remains one of our highest priorities. As such, we have implemented strict cleaning and hygiene protocols in all of our branches, facilities and public spaces. These protocols include:
- Constant reviews of our systems and processes for efficacy. Where appropriate, these processes will be aligned to those of the WHO and the Department of Health to minimise the risk of infection.
- We've deployed hand sanitiser with more than 60% alcohol content at entrances and strategic points in our buildings. We will also continue implementing this approach based on phased stock arrivals of sanitiser from our suppliers.
- We've increased the quantity and replenishment cycles of consumable hygiene stock in our buildings. These include hand paper towels; hand foam soap and toilet seat sanitisers.
- We've increased the number of disinfectants used for enhanced cleaning of desks, door handles, escalator rails, etc. and have increased the frequency of desk cleaning.
- We've arranged ad-hoc cleaning or specialised deep cleaning protocols for high impact areas.
- We've established pandemic readiness plans in the event of isolation and decontamination being required.
- Our staff have been given the necessary tools and information to minimise the risk of transmission.
Payment without using your card
If possible, keep your bank card in your wallet or purse and use cardless payment apps, like SnapScan, Zapper, Mastercard Pass, VodaPay or your banking app’s cardless feature. Remember to sterilise your phone too.
If you have any questions relating to our COVID-19 safety and hygiene protocols or need help with any of our online banking tools, call us at 0860 123 000. Stay safe.