The pandemic has had a brutal impact on retail payments as the shutdown of entire economic sectors – air travel, cultural events, restaurants… – combined with lockdown policies around the globe have led to a sharp reduction in transaction volumes, whether cash or digital. Besides the drop in volumes, the pandemic has also changed the way we pay as there has been a shift to online payments as well as contactless payments, as consumers and retailers have attempted to reduce the handling of cash, cards and card terminals or keypads, which have been accused – sometimes irrationally – as posing a risk of transmitting the disease.
At the same time, a number of countries have seen a significant surge in cash in circulation. In the US, cash in circulation increased by almost $100 billion since February 2020, an annual increase of 9.5%. In the euro area, the value of euro banknotes increased by €36 billion to a record €1,314 billion. This represents a year-on-year increase of 8% and is the strongest increase since October 2008, following the collapse of Lehman Bros. In Russia, approximately 1 trillion rubles ($13.6 billion) have been withdrawn from ATMs and bank branches since the beginning of March, more than during the whole of last year.
The pandemic is creating radical disruption in all areas and will define a new normal. The crisis is accelerating demand for change as well as altering the perception of some of the mega-trends which were preceding the pandemic: global warming, ageing populations, growing inequality, increasing digitalisation, the governance of BigTech platforms… These changes will impact the role, the perception and the governance of money as well as the role of cash. We anticipate that the crisis creates an opportunity to design a monetary ecosystem that is more inclusive, more sustainable, more resilient and more protective of privacy. But we need to proactively imagine and shape these changes.
The webinar will gather:
9 June 2020 @ 14:00 CEST. Register here!
The summary and recording of the first is available here