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Cash usage has increased amid the pandemic, Brinks CEO says

While digital retail sales have surged during the coronavirus pandemic as homebound consumers spend more time on money online, cash is still king, according to the chief executive of Brinks.

Doug Pertz, CEO of the cash management company know for its money-carrying armored trucks, told CNBC’s Jim Cramer Tuesday that data show cash circulation in the U.S. economy is even higher than pre-pandemic levels.

“Potential investors confuse that cash is going down,” but “the strength of cash is just as strong as it was before, and the amount of cash [used] in the economy is just as strong,” he said in a “Mad Money” interview.

Despite the growing popularity of digital transactions in an increasingly contactless world, physical money remains a mainstay for in-person retail purchases. The results have not changed materially from a year ago, Pertz explained.

Citing information from the Federal Reserve, cash circulation is 16% higher year-over-year, up from the mid-single-digit compound annual growth rate recorded over the past three decades, he noted.

Furthermore, 35% of U.S. brick-and-mortar purchases continue to be made with cash, the company says.

As for Brinks, it said it processed 6% more cash through its system than it did in prior years.

“That clearly suggests cash isn’t going away,” said Pertz.

Brinks posted fourth-quarter and full-year 2020 results before the stock market opened for trading Tuesday, a session where its shares traded more than 6% higher to $80.86. The company exceeded analyst estimates for the quarter, making $1.02 billion in revenues and $1.64 of earnings per share. Revenue came in 9% higher than the year-ago quarter. It was Brinks’ best growth quarter since 2018.

Full-year revenue of $3.69 billion, barely higher than what the company brought in in 2019, was marred by a decline in first-half sales.

Brinks does, however, see a future in the digital cash management space. About a third of brick-and-mortar retail transactions continue to be done in cash, and Brinks is looking to provide an integrated solution, Pertz said.

The solution can help retailers convert physical cash into digital form in-store, similar to the way that debit and credit card digital cash providers do for payments, he noted.

“We think we can provide that digital cash management solution, and that’s what we’re coming onto next,” he said. “That’s on an integrated basis where we’re going. We think that solution can be really significant and there’s a huge untapped, unvented market in this space for cash management.”

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