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Covid-19, cash, and the future of payments

Summary:
BIS Bulletin  |  No 3  |  03 April 2020 by  Raphael Auer, Giulio Cornelli and Jon Frost PDF full text (1,064kb)  |  9 pages Key takeaways The Covid-19 pandemic has fanned public concerns that the coronavirus could be transmitted by cash. Scientific evidence suggests that the probability of transmission via banknotes is low when comparedwith other frequently-touched objects, such as credit card terminals or PIN pads. To bolster trust in cash, central banks are actively communicating, urging continued acceptance of cashand, in some

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BIS Bulletin  |  No 3  | 
03 April 2020
PDF full text
 (1,064kb)
 |  9 pages

Key takeaways

  • The Covid-19 pandemic has fanned public concerns that the coronavirus could be transmitted by cash.
  • Scientific evidence suggests that the probability of transmission via banknotes is low when compared
    with other frequently-touched objects, such as credit card terminals or PIN pads.
  • To bolster trust in cash, central banks are actively communicating, urging continued acceptance of cash
    and, in some instances, sterilising or quarantining banknotes. Some encourage contactless payments.
  • Looking ahead, developments could speed up the shift toward digital payments. This could open a divide
    in access to payments instruments, which could negatively impact unbanked and older consumers. The
    pandemic may amplify calls to defend the role of cash - but also calls for central bank digital currencies.
International Settlement
The Bank for International Settlements (BIS) is an international company limited by shares owned by central banks which "fosters international monetary and financial cooperation and serves as a bank for central banks". The BIS carries out its work through subcommittees, the secretariats it hosts and through an annual general meeting of all member banks. It also provides banking services, but only to central banks and other international organizations. It is based in Basel, Switzerland, with representative offices in Hong Kong and Mexico City.

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