New project launched to understand impact of Covid-19 on payment systems

Horizon Research Fellow, Dr Jiahong Chen, has been awarded funding for a new research initiative addressing how the Covid-19 crisis affects the way people use payment systems. The project, “Future Payment Systems: Data, Technology and Privacy After Covid”, funded by the EPSRC via the SPRITE+ NetworkPlus, will investigate the evolving landscape of technology and regulation in the light of the behavioural change in making payments during and after the pandemic.

“We are seeing a significant decline in the use of cash over the last few months,” Dr Chen explains, “due to hygienic concerns and the overall increase in online transactions.” “But it’s not entirely clear whether these changes will stick around post-Covid, and how such a trend may have exclusionary and privacy impact on people.”

The project has envisaged a pathway to informing the technological and regulatory developments of payment systems that will reflect the values relating to trust, identity, privacy and security (TIPS). “We need to scope out the relevant fields and test some preliminary ideas that will support the development of longer-term studies. This project will allow us to collect initial evidence and reach out to stakeholders,” says Dr Chen.

Speaking about his involvement in the project, he adds, “my focus will be on how law and policy, alongside technologies, can play a role in co-creating the right conditions to support TIPS-friendly solutions. This also echoes our general approach to the digital economy here at Horizon, a human-centric one that values interdisciplinary perspectives.” He also mentions a related piece of written evidence recently submitted from Horizon to the Parliament Human Rights Select Committee on the impact of technologies on human rights during the pandemic.

The project starts in September, and is a collaboration between Universities of Nottingham, UCL, Stirling, Coventry, Turing Institute, Kent, Exeter and industrial partner Trilateral Research, with Dr Chen leading the Regulation work package. For further information or updates, please email Dr Jiahong Chen or follow @HorizonDER and @jiahong_chen on Twitter.