Bank of Finland Urges Households to Hoard Cash

calendar iconDec 16, 2022

The Bank of Finland has advised all households maintain cash holdings for use in emergency situations or on occasions when cashless payments are unavailable.

Päivi Heikkinen, Head of the Payment Systems Department and Chief Cashier at the Bank of Finland, gave the advice during an interview with broadcaster MTV3. She stated that her intent was not to ‘fabricate catastrophic scenarios’ but rather encourage people to make preparations in case there was ‘intentional disturbance of Finnish society and its infrastructure, including payment systems’.

In addition to scenarios in which hackers or terrorists deliberately disrupt a nation’s communications infrastructure, there are countless situations in which cashless payments—that depend on electricity and internet—could become unavailable. In summer 2021, flooding across central China left people unable to buy essentials using digital payments, prompting the inclusion of cash on a list of survival necessities.

More recently, Korea’s Kakao platform—widely-used for services including payments—was disrupted for days after a data centre fire, prompting people to question the wisdom of both technological monopolies and dependence on cashless payments. Similarly, in July, a major telecoms provider in Canada suffered prolonged outages that paralysed banking and emergency services.

Cards can get lost. Passwords can be forgotten. Cashless payments can go down due to power cuts, natural disasters, issues at tech companies or nationwide attacks. All in all, it’s good sense to keep a stash of cash in a secure place at home, and in October, we covered advice on ‘how much cash to stash’ provided by U.S. finance experts.

Last Updated: Dec 16, 2022