In 2018, the Royal Mint didn’t make any new copper coins – 1p and 2p’s, as apparently there are enough in circulation. The government announced a review into copper coins in 2018, but this was quickly withdrawn and assurances given that we’d still have copper in our purses and pockets. It makes us ask the question – what is the future of cash?
There are an increasing number of ways that we can pay for things, with contactless payments, mobile apps and digital currencies all gaining in popularity. Biometrics are expected to be the next new way to pay.
This all means that we are moving towards a cashless society. Already, 1 in 10 in the UK are effectively cashless – and its higher amongst younger people, with one in six 25-34 year olds being cashless. 7 in every 10 people now use contactless, with East Anglia topping the regions. Being cashless means paying for only 1 thing with cash in a month, or none.
What does this mean for business? There are 5 main areas where this will impact on SMEs:
- There will be less cash on the premises, so reduced risk of burglary and theft
- Payments will be easier, not just with a swipe of a card but possibly even just the use of a fingerprint
- Quicker payments should lead to greater efficiency, as less time is taken finding change
- It will be more environmentally friendly
- SMEs will need to keep up to speed with new developments as consumers keep searching for easier ways to pay
But there are downsides, with elderly and more vulnerable people most at risk, as well as people living in rural areas such as our own. Banks are already talking of closing free to use ATM cash machines, and nearly 3,000 bank branches have closed in the past 4 years.
We won’t see the withdrawal of real money for some time, but the trend is clear – the future of cash is not looking that rosy.