Virus fears turning Lynns cashless

The coronavirus and concerns about bacteria changing hands along with money has prompted one of Samoa's largest supermarkets to roll out a new means of cashless payment to its customers. 

Mataia Lynn Netzler, the owner of Lynns Samoa Supermarket, gas station and restaurant said they have created a new payment method to speed up the rate at which transactions at the checkout are processed. 

"Two years ago, we looked at testing gift cards to speed up checkouts as the transactions would be faster. With gift cards, a cashier reduces [the time they spend] counting coins and cash for customers’ change," Mataia Lynn Netzler said.

Lynns cards have been available to select customers for some time.

But the coronavirus crisis and concerns about the transfer of viruses and bacteria via cash has given them a strong incentive to roll out their cards to every

"For the last couple years, the Lynns cards have been in use with just a handful of customers,” she said. 

“[But] the COVID-19 crisis did show that paper money and coins as potential vectors of transmission and so we wanted to let customers know we could offer them a cashless option to shop.”

According to Ms. Netzler, the card serves as a prepaid debit card containing a specific amount of money available for use for a variety of purchases. The card is available to anyone. 

"A customer just needs to come into the store and apply for a card. The cards themselves are free but the amount a customer can load is decided by them," she said 

"In the future we will integrate [the card system] with online top up. Customers can also enjoy benefits of a loyalty system such as discounts and bonus items,” she said. 

"Anyone is eligible to get a card. 

“In fact, most of our initial card users were businesses such as hotels and cafes. All that is required, is to come in and sign up for a card and load an amount. For added security, a customer can add a PIN [code] and their photo."

The card can only be used for the services provided at Lynns supermarket, gas station and restaurant. 

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