In relation to the actual COVID-19 pandemic, worldwide media has raised the question of potential virus transmission through different surfaces, including currency. KBA-NotaSys’ CEO Eric Boissonnas comments about handling banknotes, “The same hygienic measures should be adopted as in the case of any other everyday item”.
“Recently we have seen unfounded messages – in the press, on social media and even in shops – that evoke a potential risk of COVID-19 transmission using cash”, explains Eric Boissonnas, CEO of KBA-NotaSys. Worldwide health experts recommend the same hand hygiene measures for handling banknotes and coins as for any other everyday item, such as door handles, shopping trolleys or payment terminals. What is paramount is to follow hygiene instructions, regardless the items one touches.
Cash is therefore safe to use in times of pandemics and is the only free public payment method, available to all. Recent campaigns against cash are exploiting the COVID-19 situation to promote other payment methods.
The European Central Bank carries out regular studies whether the production or circulation of european banknotes may have an impact on public health. They have stated that there is no evidence of coronavirus transmission via banknotes.
As the leader in high security printing solutions and a board member of the International Currency Association, KBA-NotaSys has joined the movement to counter the spread of misleading information.
The World Health Organization (WHO) is neither advising nor discouraging the public to avoid cash payments, but encourages frequent hand washing and adhering to basic hygiene. Fadela Chaib, WHO spokesperson, was quoted by MarketWatch pointing out that “we did NOT say that cash was transmitting coronavirus. […] We were misrepresented. […] Asked if we thought banknotes could transmit COVID-19 and we said you should wash your hands after handling money, especially if handling or eating food.”