Lockdown has led to a 60% fall in the number of withdrawals from cash machines, with payment card use and contactless rising with online shopping, particularly for groceries. Experts say the long-term future of cash could be at risk before the UK is ready to cope with the change, and could leave behind an estimated 20% of the population who rely on it.

There were reports early in the coronavirus outbreak about the spread of the virus on banknotes and coins. Many shoppers are still suspicious of handling it and worried about anything another person might have touched. We are seeing many shops and traders only accepting card payments and avoiding handling of cash altogether. Wincing when you showed them your plastic and asking to pay in such a form seems to be a thing of the past now in order to keep the pandemic spread under control. However, contradictory to this, the Bank of England and World Health Organization are stressing that the risk is no greater than on any other items, and repeated the advice on regular hand washing is key. But will this be seen in future years as the crisis which finally ended our love affair with cash? Is the virus speeding up the switch to electronic payments, and that whether or not the World Health Organization stresses that the risk is no greater, will us as the public feel that the handling of cash isn’t a necessity when it comes to our health and hygiene?

Read Original Source: https://www.bbc.co.uk/news/business-52455706

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