Fact Check: World Health Organisation advice on cash – use it safely

The World Health organisation has not issued any warnings about not using cash. Retailers, shops and merchants in Australia and New Zealand must allow consumers to pay with cash if they
choose. RBA rules require merchants to provide a surcharge-free method of paying for goods and services and that is usually cash. Retailers should provide hand sanitiser at the point of sale and
accept cash. 40% of consumers are deterred from using shops that refuse to accept cash.

The World Health Organisation has made public statements to counter the false claims.

“We did NOT say that cash was transmitting coronavirus,” said WHO spokeswoman Fadela Chaib, “We said you should wash your hands after handling money, especially if handling or eating food. Doing so is good hygiene practice.”

Here is another fact check on this issue by a reputable British organisation. The Reserve Bank of Australia has also looked at the issue and decided that Australian notes are a minimal risk of virus transmission.

Cash must be widely accepted and available in Australia and New Zealand to maintain a strong economy and include the many groups who rely on cash.

Last week Commonwealth Bank’s Netbank, Commbank app, credit and debit cards and merchant payment system outage demonstrated the extreme dangers of a cashless society. Retailers can lose a day’s takings because they have no cash float or their buyers have no cash.

“Retailers are vulnerable and millions of people are left behind in a cashless economy,” said Tim Wildash, Chief Executive Officer of leading independent ATM supplier, Next Payments.

“All retailers must accept cash and banks must keep their ATMs and branches open.”

“I am urging government and regulators to act and ensure that cash remains widely accepted in Australia.

“The financial system and economy are weaker without ready availability of cash,” said Mr Wildash.

“Cash is safe, reliable, private and has no hidden fees or merchant surcharges.

Reserve Bank of Australia documents released under Freedom of Information on the 3 June 2020 show the RBA has concluded cash poses no significant risk of carrying viruses. Debit and credit cards may carry many more germs than bank notes and coins according to recent American research.

The Royal Australian Mint says there is no evidence linking cash to the transmission of COVID-19.

Cash is sanitised before being delivered by cash companies to venues and ATM operators.

For more comments, interview or information:
Tim Wildash – +61 418 336 599 / twildash@nextpayments.com.au
New Zealand: Craig Whale +64 21 440 683 / cwhale@nextpayments.co.nz
Jason Bryce, Journalist – +61 428 777 727 / media@nextpayments.com.au