By phasing out the old £1 coin across the UK, the Royal Mint says its new coinage will prevent counterfeiting, but ultimately the end of cash is nigh and no amount of new launches will change that. That’s the view of Sophie Guibaud, VP of European Expansion at Fidor Bank.
She argues that contactless payments already provide an even more secure means of payment. “The simple fact is also that UK consumers are now moving away from cash. There are currently 11 million contactless cards in the country, with a record £23.23 billion spent in the first half of this year on these cards. This will only keep on increasing as the UK becomes, in effect, a cashless society in the coming years,” Guiband comments.
Her views run contrary, however, to those of Victoria Cleland, Chief Cashier at the Bank of England. Speaking at the recent Future of Cash Conference 2017, she noted that on 14th September, the Bank of England launched a new polymer £10 note featuring Jane Austen. Since then the one billion notes produced for launch have been making their way around the country, and by 22nd September 158 million notes were in circulation. “This has only been possible due to the fantastic innovation, planning and engagement of the cash industry, to whom I am most grateful.”
Whilst contactless is finally catching on and various other payment methods are emerging, innovation can increase cash demand as well as reduce it. “M-Pesa, the popular mobile money development in Africa, has not reduced the demand for cash per se as users deposit cash into an account stored on their mobile phone. And cash can have a role in internet shopping too. The recently launched Amazon Top Up allows users to deposit cash into their Amazon account at participating retailers. There are also apps such as Shpock and Gumtree which allow buyers and sellers to agree on a price and then meet to make the transaction, enabling the buyer to check the condition of the item and for cash to be used. A lot of the resilience of cash to date is down to the work of the wider industry to adapt their models to meet customer demands,” said Cleland.
More on her speech here.