Cash and other payments systems ready for COVID-19

Release date
19 March 2020

“The Reserve Bank and the banking system have plenty of cash on hand to meet demand under any circumstances,” says Assistant Governor Christian Hawkesby. Mr Hawkesby made the statement today after public interest and discussion about cash availability and use.

“We work closely with New Zealand’s banks, the companies that transport cash, and those that supply cash-handling equipment. They are all prepared for operating during all circumstances, including any unusual challenges that COVID-19 may pose.” he says.

“As an example, the Reserve Bank has at least two years’ worth of replacement cash available to feed into the system if required. We can keep cash flowing to and from branches and ATMs in the event of staff shortages or other difficulties anywhere in the cash system.”

“The banks and electronic payments systems are prepared, resilient, and will keep operating. When people are shopping, there will be cash and other payments systems available to support that,” he says.

The Reserve Bank is also reminding shoppers and retailers to practice good hand hygiene.

“Cash is just one of a number of frequently touched surfaces we encounter. The same is true for any other payment device whether it’s a card, phone or watch. This reinforces the need for good hand hygiene regardless of the way you pay or accept payment.”

“Retailers should use common-sense when it comes to cash. Businesses are not obliged to accept cash, but declining it may end up disadvantaging people who rely on its use. These people are more likely to be young, elderly, poor, disabled or financially excluded. Have respect and care for each other,” says Mr Hawkesby.

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