Contactless payments – how easy

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Government advice is that payment for goods and services should now be made by “contactless” cards or via a smartphone App.

This avoids any personal contact, and is in line with health advice.

Not everyone feels comfortable about giving their credit card details over the phone.

News in today says that the contactless card limit is being raised to £45. There may still be a £100 a day maximum spend on some cards.

National advice is that payment should be made via smartphone Apps such as Apple Pay for higher amounts.

Paypal is another option at some stores and for some takeaway deliveries..

Obviously a bank transfer can be made but this implies payment in advance.

The missing link in all this, is a list of stores and delivery options which allow the use of this technology.

The Council, supported by trade organisations and the media, in York should get on publish and maintain such an “on line” list. 

Lots of volunteers, not much organisation?

The York Council has been criticised in the wake of its claim that 1400 people had volunteered to be local corona virus helpers. Critics say there are inadequate processes are in place to channel volunteers’ efforts into providing the right help for the right people in a timely way.

Many had expected that an “online” system would be available by now which minimised human contact while allowing the vulnerable to order and pay for food and medicines remotely.

With many supermarkets closing their “click and collect” services, and home delivery slots booked up for many weeks in advance, an alternative approach using local taxis and courier cyclists is needed.

The latter groups have seen their income eroded by the crisis. Some local businesses, including taxi drivers, have said that they would be happy to cooperate with such a system.

Any online system must allow customers to

  1. Choose their shopping remotely
  2. Have it bagged
  3. Pay for it – inclusive of delivery – “online”
  4. Have it delivered to their doorstep?

At the moment only a few small independent shops seem to be addressing this demand.

NB. The Council has not yet responded to a request that it publish a regular monitor of the food supply chain from “field to doorstep”. Such information as has been published, for example regarding stock availability at local stores, has been researched by sections of the media.

Job availability on farms (and even for key worker vacancies like refuse collectors with the Council) is also difficult to find online.

Neighbourhood information needed to help combat Corona

The Council’s step to encourage volunteering is welcome.

But better coordination of the resources available is needed at neighbourhood level.

Those “self isolating” want to know which local shops are offering home delivery.

Residents need confirmation of which pharmacies are offering home delivery and with what capacity (any gaps could be filled by volunteers).

The Foxwood Residents Association is offering free social media and noticeboard publicity to local shops that

a) will deliver to doorsteps

b) accept remote payment – inclusive of delivery – by PayPal, card or bank transfer

c) Will take orders by email, phone or “on line” web site.

Any stores accepting contactless payments, and collection of food from a prearranged “in store” location (by volunteers), will also be acknowledged.

The Council needs to check and publicise regularly the availability of “on line” delivery slot availability at local branches of major supermarkets.

The Council could also coordinate the provision lists of stock shortages, of essential items, at local supermarkets. This would prevent unnecessary journeys