Future of Coins

The need to protect access to coins and cash

Governments and regulators in existing and emerging ‘less cash countries’ must ensure that access to cash is maintained for consumers and businesses that wish to use physical currency to make and receive payments.

There is a growing body of research warning that the impact to society and to individuals of having less access to cash as a way of paying for goods is potentially severe. Provided below are links to a selection of those reports.

Millions still need cash

We know that digital payments don’t yet work for everyone, and for many individuals and communities, cash remains essential.

Read article

The most vulnerable populations are also the least banked

Bank of France, 3 March 2020

“Commercial bank money is the predominant settlement asset in France, even though the use of banknotes and coins remains significant in this country, as in most of the European Union. This variety of means of payment, based on settlement assets that can be exchanged at any time at par, is an advantage that I believe should be preserved for several reasons: on the one hand, because of the financial inclusion responsibility, since the most vulnerable populations are also the least banked; but also with a view to diversifying risks, in the event of a widespread failure of electronic payment systems.”

Speech by First Deputy Governor, Denis Beau

Reserve Bank Governor NZ says Public want a ‘right’ to use cash

“Our work to date has led us to expect a ‘less cash’ not ‘cashless’ society evolving rapidly. Why not cashless? There are many reasons, in particular cash plays a critical role in ensuring financial inclusion and enabling business continuity. We have heard loud and clear that the public insist on cash remaining as a payments option, even though the economics are evolving”

Read the full speech here, 21 February 2020

Issues Paper – The Future of Cash Use, 2019

We mustn’t lose the War on Cash

Institute of Economic Affairs, November 2019

Kevin Dowd, Professor of Economics and Finance at Durham University, explains the value of cash amid the ongoing controversy over proposals to abolish it. Whatever the merits of digital money, the use of cash confers important benefits that digital money does not.

The Access to Cash Review

The Access to Cash Review – Final Report, March 2019

An independent review into the impact on consumers and small businesses of the shift from cash to digital payments calls on governments, regulators and banks to act now or risk leaving millions behind.

The Review’s action plan to protect cash access calls for:

  • government and regulators to step in urgently to ensure cash remains viable
  • a “Guarantee to Cash Access” for all, including those in remote and rural areas
  • those providing essential services to be required to allow consumers to pay by cash
  • a more efficient, effective and resilient wholesale cash infrastructure to ensure that cash remains viable as its use declines.

The independent Access to Cash Review, brought together representatives from consumer champion organisations such as Age UK, Toynbee Hall and Fairer Finance as well as industry experts to examine the future needs of consumers across the UK. It was funded by LINK, the UK’s largest cash network, but is independent from it.

Virtually Irreplaceable: Cash as Public Infrastructure

Cash Matters, August 2019

The study produced by Dr Ursula Dalinghaus demonstrates how and why cash must be understood as a public good. It examines the role of cash in society and the specific characteristics that make it a public good, referencing relevant studies, scholars, and field experiments. The study also demonstrates that cash is more than just a means of payment. It is a part of modern life and vital for people’s everyday lives.

What Explains the Growing Global Demand for Cash?

Asian Development Bank Institute, September 2019

In this paper from Asian Development Bank Institute, authors Sayuri Shirai and Eric Alexander Sugandi report that cash remains essential in many economies today and will likely remain relevant in the future since cash is likely to be used often by the elderly and marginalized, low-income people. Cash becomes useful especially when natural disasters (such as earthquakes, typhoons, hurricanes) or military conflicts cause serious damage to communities and people’s daily lives by generating power shortage and destruction of buildings and computer system. Thus, many central banks view that retaining some level of cash in the society could be useful, despite high cash-handling cost and prevalent cash-associated crimes.

Why ‘cashless societies’ don’t benefit the poor

Kate Taylor, Business Insider, July 2017

India’s working poor rely almost exclusively on cash, with about 97 percent of all transactions involving an exchange of rupees. With 93 percent of the country working in informal off-the-books jobs, most transactions entail personalised relationships rather than standardised forms of legal contract or corporate institutions.

Small retailers transact $19 trillion in cash annually

World Economic Forum and World Bank Group study, June 2016

The World Bank Group and the World Economic Forum estimated for the first time ever the value of transactions from micro, small and medium retailers globally. It totals $19 trillion in cash and cheques and $15 trillion in electronic payments.