Open letter: Refusing cash means hitting the wrong target

In response to the refusal by some businesses to accept cash payments, the Canadian Association of Secured Transportation (CAST) issued the following open letter:

Montreal, QC; March 21, 2020 – The COVID-19 pandemic has quite rightly caused us to ramp up our hygiene and cleanliness precautions; but it is important that we rely on facts, not fear, before we take measures that have serious consequences.


Attempting to prevent the spread of COVID-19 with a ban on cash is a prime example. Apart from the simple matter of payment, moral, societal and economic considerations come into play in a context where handling banknotes involves no greater risk than touching surfaces such as door handles, stair rails and debit/credit card machines. Washing your hands thoroughly and not touching your face are measures that work, as public health authorities constantly remind us.


Cash is by far the most widely used form of payment and accounts for more than 85% of transactions worldwide. Bank notes are legal tender in Canada, and many citizens use them to obtain essential goods and services. To deprive them of this option is to penalize a large segment of the population. We need only think of the most vulnerable people who do not have access to credit, the many young people without bank accounts, the elderly, the blind, and so on. The Bank of Canada issued a statement to that effect, urging retailers to continue to accept banknotes. The Bank said, “Refusing cash purchases outright will put an undue burden on those who depend on cash and have limited payment options.”


In many situations, cash is also of crucial importance, serving as a contingency plan or an emergency backup. No one is immune to computer breakdowns and power outages that prevent the use of debit/credit cards or to situations beyond our control, which we unfortunately experience too often these days.

This is by no means the time to exclude groups or to create undue hardship for some people. More than ever, it is important that we make the right choices after careful thought.


Refusing cash simply means hitting the wrong target.


Steven Meitin
Canadian Association of Secured Transportation (CAST)


About the Canadian Association of Secured Transportation

The purpose of the Canadian Association of Secured Transportation (CAST) is to promote and advocate for the interests of Canadian providers of secure transportation of valuables, to provide a venue for beneficial dialogue among members, and to encourage the advancement and excellence of industry standards across Canada and abroad.