2020 Cash Matters Retrospective

calendar iconJan 11, 2021

A week into 2021, we take a look at some of the most interesting stories covered on this site last year. In case you missed them… read on.

January: Taiwan Protects Cash Access with ‘Smarter’ ATMs

With bank branches closing across Taiwan, ATMs have gained many more customers. Financial Regulations Chairman Wellington Koo committed to protecting cash, with part of the strategy revolving around a significant upgrade to the country’s ATM network.

February: BBC Interview with Cash Matters

Cash Matters Chair Andrea Nitsche was interviewed on 21 February for BBC Radio Kent on the cash versus cashless debate sparked by the new £20 banknote.

March: Medical Experts Speak Up for Cash

A number of medical experts spoke up to counter misinformation concerning the safety of cash during the COVID-19 pandemic, backed by numerous studies.

April: Access to Cash is Critical, Says ECB Board Member

On 28 April, Fabio Panetta—a member of the Executive Board of the European Central Bank (ECB)— published a blog expanding on why the payments system, and cash in particular, is so critical to all citizens.

May: The Sixth Pillar of India’s Economy

India's retail market is extremely resilient, and the practicality of cash has everything to do with it.

On 12 May, Prime Minister Narendra Modi gave a speech on what he calls the ‘five pillars’ to make India self-reliant and, apparently, digital. Yet, the lifeline of India's economy is coping with the crisis thanks to a sixth, uncredited pillar: cash.

June: Cash Demand Soars During Pandemic in Mexico

Between December 31, 2019 and April 30, 2020, Mexico saw an unprecedented spike in cash demand. The central bank credited this to the public taking precautions in light of the pandemic.

July: UN Says Cash can Help Fight COVID-19 in the Developing World

The COVID-19 pandemic is having a devastating impact on the approximately two billion informal workers around the world. As there is no social security net for the informal sector, workers have two choices: go to work and risk contracting and spreading the virus, or stay at home and face extreme poverty and starvation. In response to this socio-economic crisis, a new report by the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) suggests that access to cash could help fight COVID-19 in developing countries.

August: New Zealand Cash Circulation Increased by $1 Billion

Cash in circulation increased by $1 billion dollars ahead of the covid-19 imposed lockdown in New Zealand, demonstrating that Kiwis are far from ready to live in a cashless society.

September: European Commission Emphasises Cash is Legal Tender

In several countries, retailers have been refusing cash in the name of COVID-19, causing governments and political representatives to introduce payment protection laws, as seen in the United States. Following suit, the European Commission laid down important tenets for the ubiquitous acceptance and accessibility of cash in the EU in its Retail Payments Strategy.

October: Dutch Finance Minister Moves to Protect Cash

Finance Minister Wopke Hoekstra told the Netherlands’ House of Representatives he is monitoring the number of retailers across the country that are no longer accepting cash. His goal is to establish whether or not additional measures will be needed to guarantee customers a choice between different payment methods.

November: Right to Pay Cash Now Protected in New York

From 19 November, a ban on businesses refusing cash became law in New York City, protecting not only people’s choice of how to pay, but most especially the city’s unbanked and underbanked, its elderly and its more vulnerable citizens.

December: Canada’s Small and Independent Businesses Speak Up for Cash

While a Bank of Canada survey found cash in circulation surged in the first months of the pandemic, and almost two-thirds of Canadians said they did not change their use of cash in response to COVID-19, Canada’s small and independent businesses took a stand in December to ensure cash continues to thrive, supporting them in turn.

Last Updated: Jan 10, 2021