The pound will not be round, or maybe around, for much longer

The pound will not be round, or maybe around, for much longer

As the new 12-sided £1 coin enters circulation, a survey shows that a third of Brits think that cash will be obsolete within just three years.

The Royal Mint is giving the £1 coin its first makeover in more than 30 years, introducing a raft of security features designed to flummox counterfeiters. On its promotional page, the Mint declares that the "pound won't be round for much longer" but a WorldPay survey suggests many people think it will also not be around.

Of 2500 Brits quizzed, a third think cash will be obsolete by 2020. Previous research, carried out by the Mayor of London's PR company, London & Partners, found that 68% of people think that cashless technologies will completely replace physical money by 2036.

A quarter of respondents to the WorldPay survey say that they have stopped using shops that do not take cards, while nearly two thirds of 24 to 34 year olds prefer not to have to carry cash. Looking further ahead, more than half expect their phones to replace their cards as the main method of payment within five years.

James Frost, UK CMO, Worldpay, says: “Consumers have long been turning away from cash. In 2005 notes and coins made up 64% of all payments in the UK; ten years later this had fallen to just 45%. By 2025, barely eight years into the life of the new pound coin, it’s estimated that cash will account for barely a quarter of transactions."

Meanwhile, Mastercard has been crunching some £1 numbers. About one in 30 £1 coins in circulation is a counterfeit, meaning that there are 30 million fakes out there, which if you piled up on top of each other would be 94,500 meters tall.

And this year, the Mint will produce 1.5 billion of the new coins, equating to the weight of more than 4000 elephants.

Comments: (6)

A Finextra member
A Finextra member 28 March, 2017, 10:341 like 1 like

But 2 weeks ago you reported that we would be cashless by 2043 - although this was a recycled article from 2016 - is there any accurate data that can back up these wild estimates? Why would the mint be putting new coins (and polymer notes) into circulation if it will be obsolete in 3 years?


Lu Zurawski
Lu Zurawski - Lu Zurawski - London 28 March, 2017, 16:111 like 1 like

One third of the population predict no cash in 3 years time? How the heck will they keep their kids entertained at the seaside amusement arcade without a bucket of coins and a "coin nudger" machine. This would be a national disaster. And that's why even 2043 seems a fanciful guess for end of cash.

Richard Crookston
Richard Crookston - R Crookston - Lampeter 29 March, 2017, 10:07Be the first to give this comment the thumbs up 0 likes

What a hoot!  I've been in retail payments in one form or another since the early 1970's and I have read with decreasing interest and belief of the 'death of cash' and the 'cashless society' during this time.  It's a pipe dream. And who was the sample?  probably all Londoners and under 30 years of age.  Out here in the wilds of west Wales cash is still important, either as notes or coins, and is likely to stay so for a long time yet.  You'll probably have to dig me up to tell me that the 'cahless society' has arrived.

Ketharaman Swaminathan
Ketharaman Swaminathan - GTM360 Marketing Solutions - Pune 29 March, 2017, 17:25Be the first to give this comment the thumbs up 0 likes

LOL @RichardCrookston but, with all this talk of Brexit and Scotland Exit, they probably think Wales won't be round or around in UK for much longer!!!

Kevin Smith
Kevin Smith - Riskskill - Reading 04 April, 2017, 06:52Be the first to give this comment the thumbs up 0 likes

Though I welcome the thought that we really are moving to a cashles society, I do believe that the 2020 estimate is a little ambitous. However, on the basis that the round £1 coin loses its legal tender status later this year (October) and I believe many unattended payment kisoks are unable to accept the new £1 coin, what a surprise, I could and hope to be proven wrong. 

A Finextra member
A Finextra member 04 April, 2017, 10:10Be the first to give this comment the thumbs up 0 likes

As a completely irrelevant aside, I got my first new 12-sided £1 coin yesterday. it was stamped 2016, not 2017.