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Cash – The Payment Family’s Crummy Relative?

October 28, 2016 Financial No Comments Email Email

Sometimes, the fear of security breaches can overshadow the convenience offered by electronic payment. According to the Mastercard Safety and Security Index released last year, consumers in Hong Kong felt the least secure about electronic payment among respondents surveyed in Greater China. Nonetheless, keeping cash on hand has its own drawbacks.

Cash, innocuous as a dollar bill may seem, harbours a number of perils that many consumers may be unaware of, exposing the cash-holder to unnecessary risks with each and every use.

Here are three concealed truths about cash:

  1. Payment tool or petri-dish?

Made out of paper or a cotton-linen hybrid, the humble banknote’s fibrous, porous surface is the perfect medium for bacteria to breed while research groups have identified 93 species of bacteria lurking in cash. On the other hand, payment cards are usually made of plastic, a hostile environment for many microorganisms. This is taken to yet another level of safety with contactless payment like digital wallets which are entirely virtual requiring no human contact during a transaction.

  1. Supporting the shadow economy

Cash, anonymous and virtually untraceable, is the lifeblood of the informal economy, and the currency of choice when processing illegal transactions. As opposed to cash’s opacity, electronic payment tracks and records all transactions, strengthening transparency and accountability.

  1. Bad for your health, bad for the environment

Each year, dirty and damaged banknotes across the world face a similar fate: to be shredded, burnt and sent to landfills, making way for crisp, freshly-printed money. Incineration, as a waste-disposal method is a significant cause of health-deterioration and environmental degradation.

These grimy truths might just have you swapping cash for a cleaner and safer way to pay next time, be it payment card or contactless payment.

Fun facts about cash

·         The average banknote sees a change of 4.6 pairs of hands per day. In the instance that the first handler has a cold, the final handler has a ¼ chance of catching it!

·         What’s cleaner than a banknote? Public restrooms, handrails in public transport, and even the communal nut bowl in a bar.

·         In 2014, around 3.07 million tonnes of CO2 equivalents were produced as a result of having 200 billion bank notes in circulation around the world.

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