“The pound won’t be round for much longer” claims the Royal Mint on its promotional page, and they’re quite right – but could the irony of this statement come back to haunt them?

The last pound coin?

Digital payments are paving the way to a cashless society in the UK, claims Worldpay

As the new £1 comes into circulation March 28th, research from payments processor Worldpay claims a third of Brits think cash could be consigned to the history books in the next five years.

The Worldpay research, which surveyed more than 2,500 consumers, revealed that a third believes that cash will become obsolete by 2020. Among the other key findings from the research, Worldpay found:

  • Two-thirds (60 per cent) of 24-34 year olds say they would prefer not to have to carry cash
  • A quarter of UK consumers claim they’ve started avoiding shops that don’t take cards
  • 54 per cent of consumers expect their smartphones to replace their card as the main method of payment within the next five years
James Frost, UK CMO, Worldpay, said: “Consumers have long been turning away from cash. In 2005 notes and coins made up 64 per cent of all payments in the UK; ten years later this had fallen to just 45 per cent. 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.

“The UK is already a world leader when it comes to alternative payments. In 2015, Britain spent more than £21 billion via cashless payments, more than any other European country including Germany. There’s every chance that this will be the last £1 coin in the history of our currency. The first made its debut in 1983 and remained fundamentally unchanged for the next 34 years. With the rise of alternative payment methods in the last few years, from contactless to mobile, it’s nearly impossible to imagine that we will still be handing over bits of metal (no matter how secure) in 2051.”