COVID-19 and the accelerated move to cashless.

With the reopening of countries and major events happening at different speeds around the world, it is clear that events are needing to rethink their strategies to reassure fans and staff and ensure a safe return to live. 


Dirty Cash?

Cash is coming under scrutiny as a major risk. Retailers would rather their staff weren’t handling cash right now. There have been reports of Chinese authorities washing or even destroying banknotes that have potentially come into contact with COVID-19. Countries around the world are being forced to reconsider the use of cash because hand-to-hand exchange of physical currency could transmit the virus.


At the same time, brands, events and teams are looking at how they need to reinvent, innovate and ensure sustainability in the most challenging of circumstances. The entertainment, sports and hospitality sectors need to understand and to reassure fans. COVID-19 is forcing everyone to take stock of how events are run. Safe distances, readily available sanitisers and ways to minimise contact are now going to be prime considerations when events and tourist attractions reopen.

Any potential source of contamination or transmission is now under scrutiny. And the fact is that cash is notoriously covered in germs; studies suggest that paper bills can contain bacteria and viruses, plus lead to the spread of disease. The lifespan of various bills ranges four to 15 years, meaning that cash has a lot of time to accumulate germs. Studies have also shown that the influenza virus can last for up to 17 days on banknotes. 

The rapid move to cashless

Most importantly, we don’t yet know how long Coronavirus can remain active on different surfaces. Across retail and transport systems, we are starting to see a major change in direction, with businesses going cashless at a rapid rate. Not just because cash is considered to be rife with germs, but there are also risks associated with PIN terminals, queuing to pay and bank cards. The recent raise in spending limits from £30 to £45 in the UK demonstrates the concern that countries have over payment methods. Burger King and Costa Coffee have already generated a lot of publicity about giving up transactions using cash and we expect many other retailers to follow.  This will inevitably follow in the events and hospitality sector. 

In this new world, cash is viewed as a major risk to health for staff and fans alike. 

Cashless or contactless? Make the right decision

Fortunately, this can easily be remedied. But bear in mind, there are two options.

  1. You can adopt a contactless approach – which is simple enough, but with one huge challenge. It is the banks and credit card companies that get the data and insights.
  2. You can go cashless and gain incredibly valuable insights from spending habits, patterns, preferences and budgets as well as solving the eternal problem of events – you know WHO the ticket buyer is, but have no sight of who actually attends the events.


Benefits of cashless at an event

If you choose cashless over contactless, it ensures that you have all your customer data and a complete view of each and every fan. In a nutshell, cashless:


  • Improves hygiene
  • Minimises contact
  • Is easy to implement
  • Reassures fans
  • Reduces queues
  • Ensures faster transactions
  • Reassures staff
  • Unlocks valuable data 
  • Enables operational efficiencies
  • Boosts bottom line


More importantly where we have seen some fans needing to be persuaded of the benefits of cashless, the current climate suggests that people are grateful for any opportunity to minimise risk of contamination. The positive benefits of cashless have been significantly enhanced.


Before the advent of Coronavirus, cash was becoming obsolete. This is now accelerating at an incredible rate.  As Tech HQ stated, “the current climate is another case for a cashless future”. It is time to look at how this major change can help your sustainability. 

Find out more here.

Enjoyed this post? Why not share it:

Stay in the loop

Once a month we'll deliver the latest industry news, trends and exclusive content, straight to your inbox.