People have suddenly stopped using money — of the bill-and-coin variety — for fear it may spread the virus. Some worried shopkeepers have stopped accepting it, too.
Why it matters: The coronavirus may have changed our buying and payment habits forever. Online shopping is through the roof, and consumers are rushing to get “contactless” credit and debit cards, which are tapped at a merchant terminal rather than inserted or swiped.
Driving the news: The coronavirus has made us scared to touch anything, and there’s a perception that money is dirty and payment terminals carry germs.
- ATM use is down 32%, according to Visa, and 63% of consumers say they’re using less cash.
- In places like South Korea, bank notes have been disinfected and placed in quarantine.
- The decline of cash has been particularly pronounced in the U.K., where an article in the Telegraph quoted a W.H.O. official advising people to wash their hands after touching currency.
Yes, but: Health experts say they consider it unlikely that cash is spreading COVID-19 (though hand-washing is always recommended).