[unable to retrieve full-text content]The Covid-19 pandemic has fanned public concerns that the coronavirus could be transmitted by cash. Scientific evidence suggests that the probability of transmission via banknotes is low when compared with other frequently-touched objects, such as credit card terminals or PIN pads. To bolster trust in cash, central banks are actively communicating, urging continued acceptance of cash and, in some instances, sterilising or quarantining banknotes. Some encourage contactless payments. Looking ahead, developments could speed up the shift toward digital payments. This could open a divide in access to payments instruments, which could negatively impact unbanked and older consumers. The pandemic may amplify calls to defend the role of cash - but also calls for central bank digital currencies.
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