Weekly Now: Associations Speak Up for Cash Payments

As cash increasingly gets pushed aside during the pandemic, associations call for legislation to ensure that consumers maintain choice. Also: How one association helped decontaminate N95 masks around the globe.

With COVID-19 making some businesses wary of accepting cash in favor of credit cards or contactless payments, a group of financial services associations are speaking out against the practice.

In a letter to federal officials, the Secure Cash & Transport Association (SCTA), Independent Armored Car Operators Association (IACOA), and the ATM Industry Association (ATMIA), along with the cash-in-transit company Davis Bancorp, are calling on legislators to pass a law supporting choice for financial transactions.

“Considering the challenging economic environment, issuance of EIP payments, and tightening access to credit for many, banning cash constitutes disenfranchisement based on payment choice and direct discrimination against millions of citizens,” the letter to officials states, according to a news release.

The letter emphasizes that while there have been questions about transmitting COVID-19 via cash, the danger was similar to or even less than that of plastic cards. “There is no scientific basis for new concern about the safety of cash,” the letter adds.

Other recent headlines:

European business travelers see less travel in the future. A recent YouGov poll highlighted by Fortune found that more than 40 percent of European business travelers are less likely to travel even after restrictions are lifted, because they have found that they could do much of their work through digital tools such as Zoom. Business travelers may also be likelier to opt for train or auto travel instead of flights. The study comes as legislation in France aims to bar short flights that could be otherwise handled by train, the environmental site Edie reports.

Supporting professional women during the pandemic. A new initiative in the Canadian province of Prince Edward Island (PEI) will help women in the workforce better navigate an employment environment affected by COVID-19. The PEI Business Women’s Association announced Transitioning Toward Growth, which will help unemployed or underemployed women gain new skills so they’re better-positioned to rejoin the workforce, including starting businesses and building an online presence. “The programs within this initiative will help women develop business skills and confidence using advanced technology, capitalizing on supplier diversity, engaging in research, development and innovation, increasing productivity and profitability, and exporting,” said the association’s executive director, Margaret Magner, according to the Journal Pioneer.

Shining a Light on N95 Masks

Throughout the pandemic, a need for N95 masks has created a challenge for many in the medical field, as the masks generally cannot be reused on a regular basis without a decontamination process—which can be out of reach in some parts of the world.

But as highlighted in a recent podcast from The Optical Society, the use of “do-it-yourself” chambers that use light to decontaminate such masks has the potential to extend the longevity of them for frontline healthcare workers.

Dr. Thomas Baer, the co-creator of the N95 mask decontamination chamber, noted that OSA leaned on its student chapters to help install and maintain the chambers where they were needed.

“And that was the big ‘aha’ moment—the Optical Society has about 400 student chapters, about half of them in limited-resource settings, and these are the perfect engineering groups to be able to build and install and maintain these systems,” Baer said. “We now have engineering teams in precisely the (right) locations. Now we just had to get them enabled with the right resources and guidance.”

Listen to the OSA podcast above for more details.


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(Juanmonino/iStock/Getty Images Plus)

Ernie Smith

By Ernie Smith

Ernie Smith is a former senior editor for Associations Now. MORE

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