Bank of England researchers have found that the risk of catching coronavirus from handling banknotes is low.

According to a study by the Bank of England (BOE), the risk of transmitting Covid-19 via polymer and paper bank notes is lower than on other day-to-day surfaces. Researchers found the main infection risks in shops are due to close proximity to an infected person or handling of a shopping basket or trolley, PIN keypad, or touchscreen of self-checkout terminals

The investigation was carried out after the Bank of England noted a decreased use of cash during the pandemic, with ATM cash withdrawals declining 30 per cent in early October. Concerns over viral transmission after handling cash were cited by over a third of the 71 per cent of shoppers who told a BoE survey that they were using less cash than before the Covid-19 pandemic.

A Bank  of Endland statement said “It seems unlikely that demand [for cash] will revert fully to the levels before the pandemic, but it is unlikely to stay at the levels we are seeing today.”

“The survival of virus on banknotes is no greater – indeed appears potentially less – than on reference surfaces representative of the many surfaces that people may come into contact with in their routine life. In summary, any risk from handling cash should be low.”