Even before the world faced the COVID-19 pandemic, the use of cash was on the decline. Once COVID hit, however, many began to worry about the possibility of cash being contaminated with the coronavirus. After all, studies suggest that paper bills were already carrying bacteria and viruses, and could even lead to the spread of disease. It’s not surprising as the average paper bill is out in circulation for an average of 4-15 years, so that money is being exchanged by a lot of hands.
Luckily, the risk of contracting the virus is low, with the CDC explaining last year that “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, but this is not thought to be the main way the virus spreads.”
Still, some businesses went on to ban cash transactions during the pandemic, with China even going so far as sanitizing its local currency. According to a survey last year by Rapyd, a global payments company, 54 percent of Americans admitted they had become concerned about touching coins or bills due to COVID, while 60 percent plan to use so-called touchless payments in the future.
The new year has brought the rollout of the vaccine and couples across the country are finally being given the go-ahead to gather family and friends for a traditional wedding. So will brides and grooms steer away from cash and opt for digital payments to tip their vendors on the big day?
Holly Gray of Anything But Gray Events reveals that cash, checks made to cash, and Venmo have been pretty much split three equal ways during the last few years, and she doesn’t foresee the pandemic changing that.
“I think no matter what, pandemic or not, cold, hard, cash is always king!” she explains.
Melissa Reinke of Sweet Blossom Weddings has also noticed that her most recent couples are still choosing to tip in cash. And for Katelyn McCullough, cofounder of Elwynn + Cass, a beauty concierge service, the pandemic didn’t change much because her business requires full payment before the event, so her clients don’t need to worry about anything on their big day. “Everything is paid for prior to the wedding day so there's no exchange of payment (cash or otherwise) on the wedding day,” she says.
Planners and vendors should keep in mind, though, that some clients still might not be comfortable handling cash, so have a backup plan in case they approach you asking for alternative methods. PayPal (if it’s sent “friend to friend”) and Venmo are great options since there are no fees charged.
“Especially after a financially challenging year, vendors are so grateful for gratuities no matter what version they come in,” says Gray. “Monetary, stellar reviews, or a card or email thanking them for their service—none of it goes unappreciated!”