Cash Blog

When Disaster Strikes, Having Cash is Critical

Wednesday, October 11, 2017

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Company: ATM Industry Association

The nation has been captivated by hurricanes and earthquakes these last few weeks, as they have wreaked havoc in communities across the continent. The disasters have ignited conversations about how people should prepare for such horrific events. While many people are quick to think of necessities such as generators, food, water and first aid kits, cash isn’t typically part of the plan. However, when natural disasters strike, electricity is likely to go out, so having a plan for how to pay for things post event is critical.
Cash is crucial after natural disasters
Consider the worst-case scenario, and it’s easy to see why it’s good to have cash on hand in a crisis. Imagine the power in your town goes out for a week, possibly more, following a natural disaster. If you’re even able to venture out in the days following, the few restaurants and stores that can open are typically also out of power. No power, no electronic payments. So, these establishments are now operating on a cash-only basis. Your credit and debit cards are worthless.

Have a plan
Advance preparation goes a long way in the aftermath of a natural disaster. Prior to the event when you’re stocking up on groceries, water and more, include a stop at an ATM for cash.

Then prepare a “bug out bag”  packed with just your essentials that’s  easy to grab and go. The bag may come with a special, hidden pocket, designed specifically to keep cash safe. Then divvy up your cash between the bag and your wallet in your pocket or purse so that the thieves who are out in full force after disasters cannot totally wiped you out. The idea is to make cash difficult to access for robbers, but still convenient when it comes time to pay for things. You want to be able to get to your cash without removing clothing or fumbling with your bag.

Other things to consider
As far as how much cash to have on hand, plan for at least $500 or what you typically spend on any given week if you can manage it. The idea is to have enough to cover the basics until power is restored.


​Luckily, some victims of natural disasters  are able to access mobile ATMs. Several banks have backup generators to ensure ATM withdrawals can be made post event and some have taken the initiative to send in ATMs on trucks powered by portable generators in anticipation of the disasters.


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