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The Green Sheet Online Edition

April 13, 2020 • Issue 20:04:01

Readers Speak: Is cash the villain?

In a recent blog post, Bernard Foot, Strategy Analyst at Payment HSM service provider MYHSM, aimed to resolve confusion about whether the use of cash is contributing to the spread of COVID-19. Foot noted that initial confusion spread when many believed the World Health Organization had concluded cash was transmitting coronavirus. WHO refuted this, stating, "We were misrepresented. ... WHO did NOT say banknotes would transmit COVID-19, nor have we issued any warnings or statements about this. We were asked if we thought banknotes could transmit COVID-19 and we said you should wash your hands after handling money, especially if handling or eating food. [Doing so is] good hygiene practice."

Observing that this remained a hot topic on LinkedIn, Foot delved further into it, asking does cash spread COVID 19, and does the use of plastic, especially contactless, have a positive role to play? "Perhaps, but it is likely to only be a marginal benefit," Foot wrote. "The value of transactions you can make is limited. Although, while I have been writing these notes the per-transaction limit in the UK has been raised to £45, with the implication that the UK authorities see a health benefit in moving from cash to contactless.

However, you can make only a handful of contactless transactions before having to enter your PIN, which means handling a terminal that hundreds of other people will have touched during the day. ... But the reality is that you do not catch the virus by getting it on your skin – and you've got to assume that it will get onto your skin somehow. The key thing is to prevent it getting from your hands to either your mouth, nose, or eyes by following the publicized hygiene actions."

The safest option? Online transactions, according to Foot. To read the full blog post, visit https://myhsm.com/is-cash-the-villain/.

COVID-19 and you

As advocates seeking to empower and connect payments professionals, we'd like to know how this pandemic is affecting you and your business, and how you're adapting. Please email us at greensheet@greensheet.com; share your latest news, too, at press@greensheet.com. end of article

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