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TORONTO -- Even before the COVID-19 pandemic, consumers had been increasingly using forms of cashless payment such as credit and debit cards, e-transfers and their smartphones to pay for products. But now some stores are saying they only want to accept contactless payments in an effort to stop the spread of the novel coronavirus. That has prompted the Bank of Canada to weigh in on the trend, and issue guidance on paying with cash, which they say poses no greater risk than touching a doorknob or handrail. "The Bank strongly advocates that retailers continue to accept cash to ensure...

COVID-19: Cash is not a problem - 05/25/2020

Some people worry that cash may be spreading the coronavirus. Earlier this year, both China and South Korea began sterilizing their bills using UV light or high heat before putting them back into use. They also quarantined their bank bills for 14 days in hopes that any lingering viruses would die off during that time. In early March, a World Health Organization spokesperson suggested that people should not use cash if possible, but then clarified that the WHO was not issuing a COVID-19 specific guidance with regards to using contactless payments. I’m a professor of environmental and...

Fast moves towards cash are spreading the virus of social exclusion - 05/19/2020

Fears of coronavirus spreading through cash have been diffused by health authority engagement. Despite this, shops in many countries refuse to accept cash payments. This is not only an abuse of people’s rights it is a direct attack on the poorest people living on the unbanked fringes of society. Around the world, shoppers are increasingly being faced with signs from retailers refusing to accept cash. Many shops have imposed card-payment-only policies out of fear of coronavirus transmission on banknotes, or introduced limited cash-use registers. Such moves have likely been spurred by the...

Cash is glowing in New Zealand - 05/15/2020

Despite the apparent shunning, by the masses, of cash, the amount of cash in circulation has never been higher - and there was plenty of it moving around before the start of the lockdown.  It has been one of the great contradictions in recent years. We all hear and talk about how nobody uses cash these days. With all the alternatives, why bother? The Reserve Bank has been doing a lot of work on the future of cash and is conscious that those who still use cash don't be marginalised. And clearly some people still do. The numbers do not lie. Reserve Bank figures have shown that...

When cashless debit card causes stigma and stress - 05/13/2020

The findings of a report into the federal government’s cashless debit card, which was quietly published a day after the controversial scheme was extended, have added weight to claims the card is causing welfare recipients significant stigma and stress. The government-commissioned report of the Bundaberg and Hervey Bay trial site, conducted by University of Adelaide researchers, finds a mixed reaction to the program, which has forced welfare recipients to be paid 80% of their benefits via a card since January last year. Based on qualitative interviews with 74 organisations and 66 potential...

Going cashless is a gift to China - 05/12/2020

We are, yet again, in danger of being consumed by the Chinese borg: While much of the world is consumed by the COVID-19 crisis, the Chinese government is quietly unleashing a financial innovation that will reshape its economy and improve its strategic standing for decades to come. In April, China’s central bank introduced the “digital yuan” in a pilot program across four cities, becoming the world’s first major economy to issue a national digital currency. … The digital yuan will eventually replace cash in circulation….The move from paper to bytes is more than just a sign of our digital...

Enough of fake news about cash and COVID-19 - 05/11/2020

No, cash payments will not spread the virus Early statements by the World Health Organization were initially misinterpreted, that cash payments could favor the spread of the virus. These concerns have since been put to rest, after many scientists and specialists investigated the matter, and came to the unanimous conclusion that cash payments were less likely, not more likely, to spread the virus. Health specialist Cory Stieg writes, “Despite reports that the World Health Organization was pushing people to use contactless payments, a spokesperson for the WHO tells CNBC Make It it has not...

The bad move toward cashless economy - 05/06/2020

Even prior to the outbreak of coronavirus, many brick-and-mortar retailers across the country, for reasons of cost and efficiency, had been moving toward cashless operations. They had been doing this to such an extent that a number of cities and states had to ban  the practice to protect the vulnerable.   But the pandemic, and the belief that the use of cash can spread the virus, has led to a surge of businesses either refusing to accept cash or strongly discouraging its use, and this disproportionately affecting people of color. Here are the reasons why: 1. People of Color...

The Gates Foundation and its war on cash - 05/04/2020

Back in November 2016, the Indian government decided to remove all 500- and 1000-rupee notes from circulation overnight without prior notice. This effectively removed 86% of cash in a country that was almost 90% cash reliant. The notes became worthless and people were asked to hand them in to banks. They would only receive what they had deposited in dribs and drabs over time in the form of new notes. The official reason for this was that the action would curtail the shadow economy and reduce the use of illicit and counterfeit cash to fund illegal activity and terrorism. Some who...

Coronavirus: Low risk of contamination through banknotes - 04/28/2020

Media and social networks have been arguing about the safety of paper money since the COVID-19 pandemic started. Opinions vary, but in fact, it does not matter how to pay: good personal hygiene is most important! In early March, The Telegraph published an article. It stated with reference to a representative of the WHO that the World Health Organization was calling for cash withdrawals because banknotes transmit the coronavirus. The article received wide publicity amid the global panic over the infection's spread. However, in just a few days WHO spokeswoman Fadela Chaib clarified that the...
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The cashless society from an ethical point of view

The debate about the move towards a cashless society has been at the center of the scene for several years, now. Various angles have been taken by economists, politicians, banking institutions and sociologists. Beyond the technicalities of the debate, lies the question of freedom, of inter-citizen solidarity and of governmental responsibility. The debate cannot remain in the hands of financial specialists, it is first and foremost an ethical, political and societal issue.

The cashless society from an ethical point of view









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