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‘Money changes hands frequently:’ WHO advises a move away from banknotes

To increase our safety, the World Health Organization has advised people to reduce their use of physical cash. Here’s why.

2 min read

To deter the spread of bacteria and contain the recent COVID-19 outbreak, the World Health Organization (WHO) has recently advised people to be more mindful of how they handle physical currency. In particular, health experts have suggested a conscious move away from using cash when paying in stores, encouraging a switch to contactless methods of payment instead.

Read on to learn how mobile banking can offer better ways to manage money safely, and how you can protect yourself with digital, alternative options.

"Money changes hands frequently"

As the global situation with regard to coronavirus becomes increasingly sensitive, authorities have weighed in on how people can reduce their chances of infection. Along being encouraged to reduce proximity and contact with others as much as possible, health experts have now warned consumers to reduce handling physical cash and to wash their hands thoroughly after handling paper bills that exchange hands multiple times a day, often across long distances.

Speaking to The Telegraph, a WHO representative recently triggered a conversation about the safest way to manage cash, sharing the following:

“Money changes hands frequently and can pick up all sorts of bacteria and viruses and things like that. We would advise people to wash their hands after handling banknotes and avoid touching their face. When possible it would also be advisable to use contactless payments to reduce the risk of transmission.”

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Taking this advice into account, and with many of us managing our finances digitally or online already, there are now many options at our disposal to increase protection:

Go contactless

Contactless card payments are transactions made via your bank card in which no physical cash is exchanged. Not only is this a safer method of paying, it’s also usually much quicker than paying with cash.

But, how exactly does this method work? Well, some debit or credit cards have a special chip inside them which stores all of your data. To pay with your card, all you do is simply tap it on the NFC payment terminal to make a transaction — whether it’s at a coffee shop, or at the register in a shop. Once you hear a “ping,” you’re done and good to go.

Shop online

Given the current climate, a good option to consider is to start doing more of your shopping online, rather than in physical stores. This means not having to come into contact with any tangible cash as the entire transaction is handled digitally.

Use mobile payments

More and more, people are turning to a mobile approach when paying. With mobile payments, you can easily use your smartphone just as you would your contactless debit or credit card. You just swipe your phone on a payment transaction terminal and the money automatically comes out of your account. Easy!

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