New Zealand has been a shining example of how to handle the COVID-19 global pandemic. With a population just shy of 5 million residents, New Zealand’s Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern took quick action to mitigate the pandemic’s impact on her country – to great success. It has been widely acknowledged that the Prime Minister’s actions, including a swift and tough lockdown and plentiful testing, saved many lives.
“We must go hard and we must go early,” was Prime Minister Ardern’s message to New Zealand citizens.
And it worked. According to the Johns Hopkins coronavirus-tracking world map, New Zealand had only 1,519 confirmed cases and 22 deaths.
An Unexpected Surprise
Now, New Zealand is slowly easing lockdown restrictions in-country. And this new freedom has resulted in a surprising situation – a dramatic increase in the number of cash withdrawals from ATMs.
According to the ATM Industry Association (ATMIA), “Consumers have rushed back to cash as soon as social distancing restrictions eased in New Zealand and venues began opening again. One month’s worth of withdrawals occurred in just three days last week, reported New Zealand’s leading independent ATM network, Next Payments.
“More than 30,000 withdrawal transactions were made in the three days after venues were (partially) reopened in New Zealand. In excess of 60,000 withdrawals have been made already in May, more than double to the total for April 2020.”
As a result, many of New Zealand’s ATMs ran out of cash.
What does this mean for U.S. Independent ATM Deployers (IADs)? Primarily, it means that as our country slowly begins to open up, IADs need to make sure that their ATMs are vaulted regularly so that they don’t run out of cash.
Additionally, with many Americans still highly safety conscious, it is a good idea to protect your ATM customers from possible exposure to COVID-19. Thankfully, the Consumer Choice in Payments Coalition (CCPC) recently emphasized scientifically-based research that, “cloth/linen-based U.S. currency is actually more germ proof and less of a transmission risk than non-porous plastic charge cards and mobile phones.”
Recently, according to revised guidelines from the Centers for Disease Control (CDC), the virus primarily spreads from person-to-person. Nevertheless, the CDC does state, “It may be possible that a person can get COVID-19 by touching a surface or object that has the virus on it and then touching their own mouth, nose, or possibly their eyes. This is not thought to be the main way the virus spreads, but we are still learning more about how this virus spreads.”
With a well-supplied and clean ATM, IADs are better able to welcome the public back to their machines.