During emergencies or times of uncertainty, many people rush to their nearest ATMs to take out some cash “just in case.” Having cash on hand can give some people a sense of control in these sorts of events, especially when common messaging is to stock up on supplies, but does having lots of cash on hand make sense during the COVID-19 pandemic?
Unlike other emergencies where you might be stuck at home, such as a hurricane or blizzard, there’s currently no risk of banks and ATMs becoming inaccessible due to a power outage because of this pandemic. While we’re here for you and have even more of our employees on the phones to help you, physically going into a branch right now may not align with your family’s shelter-in-place plan. You can visit any of the 100,000+ surcharge-free ATMs in our network, or you can go cashless while we flatten the curve.
Here are 5 reasons it makes sense to go cashless right now:
- We don’t know enough about the virus. Since this virus is so new to humans, we still have much to learn about it. We know how long it lives on some surfaces like copper, plastic, and cardboard, but thus far no one’s studied how long it lives on paper money. Regardless of this particular virus, it’s fairly common knowledge that money is dirty. Dirt, bacteria, and even drugs have been found on money in circulation, and the way money is passed from person to person for years on end is enough to make some people wince. Might as well skip it…and wash your hands again.
- You can sanitize your debit card. If you managed to snag some sanitizing wipes before shelves went bare, then you’re probably wiping down every surface you touch. Great! Unfortunately, that’s not so easy with our type of paper money. Debit and credit cards, however, are easy to clean with a sanitizing wipe.
- Most apps don’t take cash. If you’re quarantining yourself and are staying home as much as possible, then most of your purchases and payments are going to be online or through a mobile app. You don’t need to stop at an ATM for your grocery delivery when the only method of payment they accept is a card anyway.
- Digital payments are pro-social distancing. Owe your friend $10 for some rice, chicken, and lentils she dropped off at your door? You can transfer money instantly with a peer-to-peer payment app like Venmo without ever leaving your home or getting within six feet of her.
- Cashiers don’t want to touch your money. Cashiers at essential businesses like restaurants and grocery stores are required to interact with many people all day, and they’re likely really worried about their own risk of exposure. If you’re like me and are still trying to support local businesses by ordering carry out, you might still be making payments in person. Whenever possible, I try to use a digital wallet like Apple Pay, Samsung Pay, or Google Pay. This secure method of payment is truly contactless – you hover your phone just above the reader to finish the transaction.
Members have many options to limit contact with others right now as we all try to minimize our own exposure to this coronavirus and work to avoid spreading it ourselves. If you have to head out, try to use your debit or credit cards so you can sanitize them with disinfectant, and make sure you wash your hands if you can’t avoid handling cash.
Want to be extra careful? Stay at home, wash your hands, and use your digital wallet or debit card to pay bills or order lunch.
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