Cardtronics is a company with a purpose-driven mission to provide cash access for the communities we serve—enabling payment choice.

As the largest ATM operator in the world, we take exceptional pride in the role we play in ensuring consumers remain connected to convenient, reliable, and safe access to cash, especially during times of national economic crisis and emergency preparedness.

We are resolved in our commitment to employee safety and business continuity—it is paramount for all of us—and we want to provide as much information as possible about what we are doing to serve our employees, customers, and communities, and play our part in helping to prevent further outbreaks.

Cash is vital in times of crisis

The rapid spread of COVID-19, followed by the even faster spread of anxiety, signs of recession, and propaganda by special interest groups calling for a cash-free society, calls for much-needed clarity regarding cash and coronavirus (COVID-19).

As the various sources linked below make clear, medical experts around the world continue to confirm there is no scientific evidence that cash represents a particularly significant risk of infection compared with other kinds of surfaces that people come into contact within daily life. The universal message is that hygiene and the washing of hands is best practice.

We direct everyone to the comments of the World Health Organization, which has pushed back on the narrative that banknotes can transmit COVID-19.

Moreover, to ensure that handling cash remains as safe as possible, the European Central Bank (ECB) has been working closely with top-tier European laboratories to assess the behavior of coronaviruses on different surfaces. The results indicate that coronaviruses can survive more easily on a stainless steel surface (e.g., door handles) than on cotton banknotes, with survival rates on the stainless steel surfaces at approximately 10 to 100 times higher in the first few hours after contamination. Other analyses indicate that it is much more difficult for a virus to be transferred from porous surfaces such as cotton banknotes than from smooth surfaces like plastic. The ECB found that “overall, banknotes do not represent a particularly significant risk of infection compared with other kinds of surface that people come into contact with in daily life.” The ECB’s cooperation with scientific laboratories will continue in the coming weeks to preserve public trust in the safety of banknotes.

We also join with central banks around the world in encouraging retailers to continue accepting cash to ensure consumers have access to the goods and services they need. Refusing physical currency could put an undue burden on people who depend on cash as a means of payment, including the millions of unbanked, underbanked, elderly, and disadvantaged.

News about our industry and COVID-19

Links to Documents

Your questions answered

What has been the company's response to this pandemic?

Cardtronics has been closely monitoring the COVID-19 situation, and we continue to mitigate any issues by identifying alternative arrangements where possible. We continue to operate globally, and our teams are staying informed and ready to respond to the changing nature of this outbreak.

What is Cardtronics doing to protect its employees?

The health and safety of our employees remain our most important considerations. We have implemented protective measures and are undertaking guidance from relevant authorities to ensure we take all possible steps to protect our employees and help them feel supported every step of the way.

What is Cardtronics doing to support its customers?

We are taking comprehensive and appropriate actions to ensure our business can continue to operate and assist our customers, and support their needs as they evolve.

What is Cardtronics doing to help its communities?

In addition to providing convenient, reliable, and safe access to cash during this crisis, we are incredibly proud of the grassroots advocacy efforts our company has undertaken since 2018 in both the U.S. and U.K. to promote policies that protect cash and consumer payment choice. Over the past two years, 17 local and state legislators have introduced bills to ban cashless retail, and we have proactively supported these efforts. We also have been part of a lobbying effort at the federal level, which has resulted in the introduction of a bipartisan bill in the U.S. House of Representatives called the Payment Choice Act (H.R. 2650). Recently, we began working with select cash and coin industry companies who align with our position and values to help strengthen advocacy efforts.

Can cash spread the virus?

Cardtronics directs people to the following sources:

  • • A team of six microbiologists from the University of Arizona and Michigan State University conducted a study in 2013 to measure "transfer efficiency," indicating the likelihood that bacteria and viruses could be transmitted from a variety of surfaces, both porous and nonporous, to the hands of people who had touched those services. The team selected U.S. currency as one of three porous surfaces (along with six nonporous surfaces, such as metal, glass, and ceramic tile). The study, published in the Journal of Applied and Environmental Microbiology, found that U.S. currency, a porous surface, had the lowest average transfer efficiency of any of the surfaces considered – ranging from 0.05 percent to 0.2 percent – while that efficiency was measured at average levels as high as 79.5 percent among the nonporous surfaces.
  • • The German Bundesbank has engaged specialists who state that banknotes do not cause a particular risk of infection to the public.
  • • The European Central Bank (ECB) rules out, through statements from medical experts, that the new coronavirus spreads through banknotes.
  • • “The primary transmission route is via droplets,” says Prof Jürgen Haas, the head of infection medicine at the University of Edinburgh. “These droplets are generated by coughing, and can directly infect another person via airborne infection, or by transmission via hands or other surfaces.”
  • • “The amount of virus that is potentially on an inanimate object is usually very small,” says Dr. Christine Tait-Burkard, an expert in infection and immunity at the Roslin Institute at the University of Edinburgh.
  • • Handling banknotes doesn’t pose a particular risk of contracting coronavirus, the head of Germany’s Robert Koch Institute (RKI) for infectious diseases said.

What role does cash play in times of crisis?

Cash is convenient and easy to use, especially in times of crisis. Physical currency continues to play a vital role for many consumers and remains a prominent fixture globally. Refusing cash would disadvantage large groups of people and deny them the right of access to necessary goods and services. The demand for cash in many countries is now the highest since 2008. Watch this video to find out how physical currency is managed in times of crisis and why it is essential.

Will cash availability go down during this crisis?

Cash is a vital part of societies in all the markets we serve. Governments and authorities are making extra efforts to inject cash into the system to increase its availability.