While it is true that Section 31 U.S.C 5103 states that coins and paper currency outlined as “Federal Reserve Notes” are considered to be legal tender for public charges, debts, taxes, and other types of financial dues, many businesses are refusing to accept cash as a form of payment. In fact, there is absolutely no federal-based statute that claims that people, businesses, and/or organizations must accept cash currency as payments for the goods and/or services that they offer. In fact, private businesses have the freedom to develop their own policies on this matter. Now that we are in the midst of a global pandemic, many consumers find themselves extremely inconvenienced – especially those that typically pay with cash. What is a consumer to do in these situations?

Why is Paying with Cash Now an Issue?

The dollar simply has lost its appeal during the COVID-19 pandemic. This is because many believe that paper currency and coin currency is a form of transmission for the potentially deadly virus that currently has us in the midst of a pandemic.

This is so significant that experts claim that this pandemic will push many away from using paper tender and coins. The simple fact is, no one wants to touch items that others – who could potentially be infected with the virus – have touched.

At one point in the pandemic’s history this became so severe that countries like China were actually destroying cash because of the fear that it could spread the virus.

World Health Organization and the U.S Federal Reserve

The World Health Organization has only responded to the possibility that COVID-19 could be spread by money by stating that people should ensure that they wash their hands or use hand sanitizer after handling money. It was not stating that the disease may be spread through cash; however, it is believed that if the coronavirus finds its way onto either paper currency or coin currency, it could remain there for anywhere from several hours to several days.

A spokesperson from the Federal Reserve stated in the earliest days of the pandemic, cash from Asia were being quarantined for anywhere from 7-10 days as a precautionary measure.

While it is true if an infected object is touched the illness may be transmitted afterwards by touching the face, the eyes, the nose, or the mouth, it has been established that it is primary spread by means of the respiratory system and contaminated droplets in the air.

Still, a little caution may continue to be practiced – just to be on the safe side.

What Options Are Available to Those Who Prefer to Pay Cash?

In a digital world, it may be hard to believe that there are many people that prefer to pay with cash. It is almost as difficult to believe that there are still people without smartphones and those that continue to write out paper checks.

The truth of the matter is, these individuals still exist. If you are one of those that prefer using cash, you are likely experiencing many issues – in terms of adjustment – during this current pandemic. Sure, you could use traditional credit cards or your debit card, but you may not want to pay those interest fees on a credit card or take the risk in opening up your bank account.

We completely understand.

The good news is, there are options for you. The two main ones being prepaid cards and the utilization of mobile banking technology.

Prepaid Card Options

You may be wondering why we would even mention a prepaid card if you are the type of person that does not want to use your debit card or a credit card. Well, it is because these products offer you the ease and convenience of those other cards – WITHOUT linking to any type of bank account. You simply pay a very small upfront fee and then add how much you want onto the card.

This is called “Loading”.

There are other ways to load money onto your card, too – such as receiving payroll from your employer, receiving benefits from the government onto your card, or using gift cards.

Each of these payment options are considered to be “cashless” and are preferred amid today’s global pandemic.

The names used to identify these various prepaid cards include – but are not at all limited to – “reloadable cards”, “payroll cards”, “gift cards”, “government benefit card”, and “ID cards”.

Mobile Banking Options

Now, we know you may be a bit hesitant in getting your bank involved in cashless payment options when you prefer to pay with cash, but the truth of the matter is, mobile banking technology is convenient, safe, and also considered to be a preferred option among those that do not want to accept paper currency or coin currency during the coronavirus pandemic. You may use your smartphone, your tablet, your desktop or laptop computer, or another mobile device to use mobile banking technology when making cashless payments.

Simply contact your bank to ensure that your account is one that can use mobile technology features.

Apart from completely contactless payments, mobile banking technology will allow you to easily pay your bills online, utilize eBill features, make a money transfer, and even send payments to digital payment platforms.

Digital Economy Tips for Protecting Yourself and Your Finances

There is absolutely no doubt – whatsoever – that we are not only in the midst of a global health crisis but that we a re quickly transitioning into a completely digital economy. As cashless or contactless payments become the new norm, more and more people will be transitioning to this type of system.

The more people that transition into this economy, the more scammers will pop up.

Anytime you conduct any type of business online, you must protect yourself and your finances. Cashless and contactless payments will be no exception. The following outlines a few tips that you may take to ensure your safety:

  1. When you make purchases using digital means, be sure to always check your bills and your statements. You should ensure that all transactions were authorized by you and that if you observe anything that appears to be suspicious that you contact your bank or the company that oversees your transactions immediately to report the issue.
  2. Anytime you use a digital payment service, you should make certain that you sign up for alerts. It does not matter if it is email alerts, phone alerts, or text alerts. The faster you can identify an issue – if it occurs – the better. If you work closely with your bank and utilize their services, they will be able to also quickly identify any suspicious activity on your account. Once identified, they will contact you directly. Additionally, if you want a tighter reign on your money, you may set up spending limits with your bank, too. This way, should a scammer try to access your money, they will not get very far.
  3. Make sure that you are aware of how scammers work. They often make fake messages, websites, and texts to appear to be official businesses. These are designed to trick you into entering in relevant details so that they may illegally access your accounts. Only focus on dealing with reputable companies so that you can avoid this issue.

We here at Somerville Bank are committed to your safety and satisfaction. If you are in need of learning how to deal with the digital economy that is now emerging, contact us today for more information: https://somervillebank.net/