Why cash is safe to use in times of corona
The corona virus spreads through droplets (coughing, sneezing etc., hence the social distancing). The chances of it being transmitted via inanimate objects is next to zero according to virologists. This is confirmed by e.g. the Deutsche Bundesbank, saying that the risk of picking up coronavirus via cash is minimal and "that banknotes and coins do not pose a particular risk of infection for the public.” Banknotes are certainly no more of a risk than any other surface. Every information to the contrary is fake news.
The risk of contracting the virus is very small "unless someone is using a bank note to sneeze in; [and] coins are actually very bad environments for viruses to survive.”
There are more reasons now than ever to continue paying cash. If you believe in the arguments below, be an ambassador for cash! Use it, and convince the person next to you to use it. Because fundamental rights and freedom matter:
Personal freedom and independence
- Some payment providers are using corona as a platform to increase their market share; if they are successful, payment will be increasingly in the hands of commercial players.
- Cash is a public infrastructure, a form of power sharing between governments, central banks and the public.
- Cash is the only form of payment independent of its issuer. Personal freedom is tied to the use of cash.
- Freedom of choice is only guaranteed when you have choices available.
Privacy and protection of data
- More mobile, card and contactless payments increase the amount of data being shared and sold. They accelerate the risk of sliding into “surveillance capitalism”.
- Cash protects the privacy and anonymity of its users. It is safe.
Not having to pay for paying
- All mobile, contactless and card payments incur fees. In the end, consumers always pay.
- Cash is free to use once it’s in circulation. It settles at par, no charges involved. You don’t have to pay to pay with cash.
- Mobile, contactless and card payments pose entry hurdles. They are not available to every part of the population because of technological, network, financial, literacy etc. barriers.
- Cash is the only form of payment available to all, regardless of social status, financial standing, creditworthiness, age, gender, race, nationality, and ability. No registration or specific access is needed in order to obtain, spend or accept it. It is the only truly inclusive means of payment – quite important to the 1.6 billion unbanked people in this world.
"...cash is the preferred form of payment for about 10% of Finns. For these people, cash may be the only possible payment method and it is important that they get their purchase done. Cash can be used as usual during a coronary pandemic. However, the most important thing is careful hand hygiene..."
- At the moment, all over the world limits for contactless payments are being increased while, at the same time, security is being reduced.
- Cash is safe to use and it is the most secure form of payment. No risk of cybercrime and fraud, no risk of hacks.
List of references
- The ECB Blog: "Beyond monetary policy" (Apr 28, 2020)
- Irish Times: "Cash is here to stay" (Apr 18, 2020)
- Forbes: "Cash, Check Or Google Card?" (Apr 17, 2020)
- Politico: "Is the Coronavirus Killing Off Cash?" (Apr 17, 2020)
- Phys Study: "Euro coins have antimicrobial activity, in contrast to banknotes" (Apr 17, 2020)
- Financial Times: "Cash demand surges in Europe despite coronavirus lockdown" (Apr 15, 2020)
- The Spectator: "The cashless lobby is cashing in on the COVID-19 crisis"
- Wired: "Sweden’s cashless society dream isn’t all it’s cracked up to be" (Apr 6, 2020)
- EuroMoney: "Cashless after Covid-19?" (Apr 2, 2020)
- Moneyweek: "How coronavirus pandemic is killing cash" (Mar 31, 2020)
- The Drum: "'Society still quite dependent on cash': banking leaders explore digital transformation" (Mar 24, 2020)
- Bankrate: “Coronavirus and cash: Why consumers should be cautious, but not fearful of handling dollars” (Mar 27, 2020)
- The New England Journal of Medicine: "Evidence of SARS-CoV-2 Infection in Returning Travelers from Wuhan, China" (Mar 26, 2020)
- Financial Times (Opinion): "Banknote virus fears won’t stop Germans hoarding cash” (Mar 25, 2020)
- Central Banking: "Will cash survive Covid-19?" (Mar 20, 2020)
- G4S: “ESTA: No Risk of Contamination with COVID-19 on Banknotes” (Mar 19, 2020)
- The New England Journal of Medicine: "Aerosol and Surface Stability of SARS-CoV-2 as Compared with SARS-CoV-1" (Mar 17, 2020)
- Spiegel: "Can you catch cash?" (Mar 17, 2020)
- Nature.com: "The proximal origin of SARS-CoV-2" (Mar 17, 2020)
- Deutsche Bundesbank: Cash does not pose a particular risk of infection for citizens" (Mar 17, 2020)
- Bloomberg: “New Yorker Anxiety in Hamptons Leads to Hard Cash Demands” (March 15, 2020)
- New York Times: “A Bank in Midtown Is Cleaned Out of $100 Bills” (Mar 14, 2020)
- ATM Industry Association: “New Coronavirus Health Crisis – Separating Fact from Fiction” (Mar 12, 2020)
- MIT Technology Review: “No, coronavirus is not a good argument for quitting cash” (Mar 12, 2020)
- Wall Street Journal: “As Coronavirus Spreads, Should You Have More Cash—or Less?” (Mar 12, 2020)
- Reuters: “Banknotes carry no particular coronavirus risk: German disease expert” (Mar 11, 2020)
- Bloomberg: "Fear of Virus-Tainted Dollars Opens New Front in War on Cash" (Mar 11, 2020)
- Reuters: "Banknotes carry no particular coronavirus risk: German disease expert" (Mar 11, 2020)
- MarketWatch: “World Health Organization: ‘We did NOT say that cash was transmitting coronavirus’” (Mar 9, 2020)
- Euronews: "Experts play down likelihood of banknotes spreading coronavirus” (Mar 6, 2020)
- The Guardian: "From banknotes to handrails: 10 objects that help spread coronavirus" (Mar 3, 2020)
- Der Tagesspiegel: "Corona virus transferable by cash?" (Feb 27, 2020)
- BBC: "UK's cash system 'will collapse without new laws'"(Feb 19, 2020)