Asian central bank buys into banknote disinfection

The news: US-based technology provider Spectra Systems sold its first banknote disinfection system to an undisclosed Asian central bank, per Finextra. The solution uses patented technology to eliminate pathogens from banknotes.

Why it’s worth watching: Several central banks, including those of China and South Korea, took measures to disinfect banknotes at the onset of the pandemic.

At the time, many feared banknotes could carry the virus, though data has since emerged showing low risks of transmission. But cash can carry harmful pathogens like E. coli—which may make solutions like Spectra’s appealing.

The big takeaway: As the risk of other viruses emerge, Spectra’s machine could provide a public health benefit—especially because cash is an important payment method throughout many Asian countries. Cash accounted for 16% of point-of-sale transactions last year, according to FIS.