Stay tuned with CashEssentials news ! - beyond payments
By subscribing, you accept our Privacy Policy.

Cash: an essential commodity in post hurricane Puerto Rico

Categories : Cash is efficient
October 5, 2017
Tags : Availability, Banknotes, Disaster, Puerto Rico
Hurricane Maria devastated the island, making digital payments inaccessible.
Communication Team / Equipo de Comunicación

Following the devastation left behind by hurricane Maria in Puerto Rico a couple of weeks ago, the country faces terrible food and electricity shortages. As a result, electronic payments are unavailable, depriving people relying exclusively on digital instruments from accessing their money and thus basic commodities.

The country is trying to recover after the disaster, but most banks and stores are still experiencing power cuts, making these unable to process card or mobile payments. Victims can thus only rely on paper money to access essential goods including food, medicine and gasoline. What’s more, only 90 bank branches and 200 ATMs are operational across the island, forcing people to queue for hours to withdraw cash. Banks have been compelled to limit their activities due to diesel shortages and lack of staff.

Fortunately, Zoime Alvarez – Vice President of the Association of Banks of Puerto Rico – assured that there are enough cash reserves, silencing rumours that expected stricter withdrawal limits. Indeed, the US Federal Reserve Bank fully encourages banks to stockpile cash in case of disaster, a guideline that was already applied after hurricane Harvey hit Texas. In addition, the Governor Ricardo Rosselló announced that supplementary banknotes shipments will be delivered in the coming days to meet extremely high demand, adding that the priority is to ensure that victims can have rapid access to their money.

Natural disasters are the perfect example of how vulnerable to system failures digital networks can be. In emergency situations, cash is the only payment method people can rely on. This is why it is considered as an essential good that should be stocked at home by many institutions, alongside water and medicine.

To read the original article, please click here.