How digital receipts can be used to curb coronavirus pandemic


Since COVID-19 outbreak started in Wuhan, China, in December 2019, we have seen the world focus on little else.


Coronavirus is putting a strain on governments globally, with deaths arising from the virus infections rising every day as the pandemic spreads to every corner of the world.


Economies are adversely affected, with key sector under serious threats of being faced out. There are fears that the virus will leave many desolate and bankrupt, as it brings down a number of economies.


As of 1 April, there were 51 confirmed cases in Kenya, with 1 death.


With many nations under partial or full lockdown, the government of Kenya has told its citizens to avoid all non-essential travel, rolled out emergency measures, closed schools and universities, cancelled gatherings and told people to embrace cashless transactions and technologies that avoid physical contacts.


In the midst of all this, Covid-19 is reminding people that digital economy is better placed to absorb the shocks of any disease that discourages physical contacts and social gatherings.


“Although we are faced with a global pandemic that is threatening our existence, I think there is an opportunity to rethink the whole model of how we do business, certainly around technology, how we make payments and issue receipts,” says Jasper Ochieng’, Evans Okech, heads of innovation and strategy at tech firm Kibo Capital Group Limited.


The Group runs PaymentGate which generates digital, secure receipts that can be accessed through a click of a link that is sent to the clients phone after making payments to a purchase. E-receipts are now vital for businesses like supermarkets that one requires to see a receipt and keep track of their purchases.


Okech notes that such innovations are environmentally friendly and key in fighting the spread of coronavirus where physical contacts has been discouraged.

With PaymentGate, when one pays for a service or good, he/she receives a message with a link which when clicked, gives an instant branded e-receipt that is tamper proof showing the names, amount of the good/service purchased.


Kibo’s other innovation is Tsenda. Tsenda is an automated airtime and electricity token buying innovation.


It works by one sending a text message of their number followed by hashkey and amount to a toll-free short code 40512. Airtime can be bought for any network from a Safaricom line; as this innovation relies on MPESA.
The above will make sure that human contact is minimised and coronavirus is defeated.


Though the solution mostly targets businesses, but for both the seller and buyer, an automated reconciliation happens, in that, one will never lose the records of his/her transaction just in case they would want to raise an issue or maybe return a purchase. This is done at no extra cost, for the businesses, it is an electronic clerk.


The businesses are also guaranteed to save on their stationery costs as the solution removes the necessity for physical printouts. This also means that one doesn’t need boxes and safes and big rooms to keep storing the receipts.


The clincher is this, one can advertise on the receipts to the millions of people using this service as the receipts come with advertising space for ones business.
All these innovations underscore the need for no physical exchanges and making sure that social distancing is achieved as well all make efforts to curb the spread of coronavirus pandemic, he ends.

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