The COVID-19 pandemic significantly increased the demand for cash. Cash in circulation increased sharply from March through December 2020, particularly in the early months of this period. Although use of electronic methods of payment also increased significantly, cash use for payments remains high for low-value transactions and among certain demographic groups.
We discuss the competition and innovation arguments for issuing a central bank digital currency (CBDC). A CBDC could be an effective competition policy tool for payments. A CBDC could also support the vibrancy of the digital economy. It could help solve market failures and foster competition and innovation in new digital payments markets.