Bank of Canada urges stores to continue to accept cash
TORONTO -- Even before the COVID-19 pandemic, consumers had been increasingly using forms of cashless payment such as credit and debit cards, e-transfers and their smartphones to pay for products.
But now some stores are saying they only want to accept contactless payments in an effort to stop the spread of the novel coronavirus.
That has prompted the Bank of Canada to weigh in on the trend, and issue guidance on paying with cash, which they say poses no greater risk than touching a doorknob or handrail.
"The Bank strongly advocates that retailers continue to accept cash to ensure Canadians have access to the goods and services they need,” the Crown Corporation said in a statement.
The Bank of Canada added that refusing cash purchases will put an undue burden on those with limited payment options.
The President of the Canadian Association of Secured Transportation Steven Meitin echoed that sentiment, while noting that several retail outlets across Canada, such as grocery stores and pharmacies, are no longer accepting cash altogether.
Meitin says that several studies have shown that cash does not carry more germs than credit and debit cards. In fact, Meitin said he is hearing of people who rely on paying in cash being turned away in stores and actually witnessed this firsthand.
‘”A woman was attempting to make a payment for their items in a convenience store and the attendant would not accept her cash," Meitin told CTV News Toronto.
“We are asking retailers to continue to accept cash and not discriminate against people that do not have access to credit,” Meitin added.
One advocacy group for low and middle income families is also speaking out on the topic. Alejandro Gonzalez is with Acorn Toronto and says there is an “unbanked population” without bank accounts and access to credit who must pay in cash.
“According to various studies three per cent of Canadians do not have a bank account or a banking card and cash is the only form of payment they can make," Gonzalez said.