SPACE Options for rapid delivery (payment) of cash transfers for COVID-19 responses and beyond

This note describes the main strategies used by, and available to, countries to deliver cash support in response to the COVID-19 pandemic. The objective of the note is to inform both ongoing responses to COVID-19 and medium to long term investments in delivery mechanisms that could be used to respond to future crises. In detail, it builds on existing literature (see Box 1 for full references) to provide governments and development partners with concise information on the main payment options available, outlining strengths and weaknesses of each, as well as pre-requisites and key actions required for their inclusive implementation.

It is important to highlight that this note focuses on:

  • the provision of cash support to new beneficiaries, not existing ones. Reaching new caseloads is more challenging than supporting existing beneficiaries since it requires creating new payment mechanisms or adapting/leveraging existing ones.
  • monetary or semi-monetary transfers (vouchers), not in-kind;
  • Government to Person (G2P) transfers and Humanitarian cash delivery (noting considerations will differ slightly across the two);
  • social assistance transfers primarily, not social insurance.