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Catch me (if you can): assessing the risk of SARS-CoV-2 transmission via euro cash

Author

Listed:
  • Tamele, Barbora
  • Zamora-Pérez, Alejandro
  • Litardi, Chiara
  • Howes, John
  • Steinmann, Eike
  • Todt, Daniel

Abstract

In the light of fears that the SARS-CoV-2 virus might be transmitted via cash – fears that were stoked by statements in the media and from public authorities – this paper aims to address the following issues: (1) to provide a descriptive account of the change in the circulation of euro banknotes and the use of cash in transactions during the pandemic; and (2) to assess the survivability of the virus on cash and the potential transmission risks. The pandemic has caused a significant increase in demand for cash as a store of value but a decrease in the use of cash in transactions. Although citizens reported using cash less in transactions partly out of fear of infection, research confirms that the risk of the virus being transmitted by banknotes and coins is very low. This supports the findings from the scientific community concluding that SARS-CoV-2 mainly spreads via respiratory fluids and airborne transmission, and that surfaces play a very minor role. JEL Classification: I10, I12, E41, E58

Suggested Citation

  • Tamele, Barbora & Zamora-Pérez, Alejandro & Litardi, Chiara & Howes, John & Steinmann, Eike & Todt, Daniel, 2021. "Catch me (if you can): assessing the risk of SARS-CoV-2 transmission via euro cash," Occasional Paper Series 259, European Central Bank.
  • Handle: RePEc:ecb:ecbops:2021259
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    File URL: https://www.ecb.europa.eu//pub/pdf/scpops/ecb.op259~33b180d450.en.pdf
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    References listed on IDEAS

    as
    1. Lalouette, Laure & Zamora-Pérez, Alejandro & Rusu, Codruta & Bartzsch, Nikolaus & Politronacci, Emmanuelle & Delmas, Martial & Rua, António & Brandi, Marco & Naksi, Martti, 2021. "Foreign demand for euro banknotes," Occasional Paper Series 253, European Central Bank.
    2. World Bank, 2020. "The COVID-19 Pandemic [Pandémie De Covid-19]," World Bank Publications - Reports 33696, The World Bank Group.
    3. Esselink, Henk & Gijsel, Lola Hernandez-van, 2017. "The use of cash by households in the euro area," Occasional Paper Series 201, European Central Bank.
    4. Luca Baldo & Elisa Bonifacio & Marco Brandi & Michelina Lo Russo & Gianluca Maddaloni & Andrea Nobili & Giorgia Rocco & Gabriele Sene & Massimo Valentini, 2021. "Inside the black box: tools for understanding cash circulation," Mercati, infrastrutture, sistemi di pagamento (Markets, Infrastructures, Payment Systems) 7, Bank of Italy, Directorate General for Markets and Payment System.
    5. Rösl, Gerhard & Seitz, Franz, 2021. "Cash and crises: No surprises by the virus," IMFS Working Paper Series 150, Goethe University Frankfurt, Institute for Monetary and Financial Stability (IMFS).
    Full references (including those not matched with items on IDEAS)

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    Cited by:

    1. Dominik Höpperger & Codruta Rusu, 2022. "Payment behavior in Austria during the COVID-19 pandemic," Monetary Policy & the Economy, Oesterreichische Nationalbank (Austrian Central Bank), issue Q4/21, pages 85-104.
    2. Batiz-Lazo, Bernardo & Bautista-González, Manuel A & González-Correa, Ignacio, 2021. "La transformación en el uso de efectivo y pagos digitales durante la pandemia de Covid-19 [Thye transformation in the use of cash and digital payments during the Covid-19 pandemioc]," MPRA Paper 109943, University Library of Munich, Germany.

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    More about this item

    Keywords

    banknotes; cash demand; cash use; coins; COVID-19 pandemic; safety; SARS-CoV-2 virus; survivability; transferability;
    All these keywords.

    JEL classification:

    • I10 - Health, Education, and Welfare - - Health - - - General
    • I12 - Health, Education, and Welfare - - Health - - - Health Behavior
    • E41 - Macroeconomics and Monetary Economics - - Money and Interest Rates - - - Demand for Money
    • E58 - Macroeconomics and Monetary Economics - - Monetary Policy, Central Banking, and the Supply of Money and Credit - - - Central Banks and Their Policies

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