£10 note goes polymer


On September 14, the Bank of England is set to replace the classic £10 note with a polymer alternative. The £10 paper banknote is the oldest Bank of England banknote currently in circulation, and is in need of being updated to take advantage of security features present in modern bank notes. The current £10 note is vulnerable to sophisticated counterfeiters, but as the UK becomes ever more cashless, the need for a revamped £10 note is certainly questionable. The cost of introducing a new banknote is incredibly high. The new £5 note, for example, cost the Bank of England £70 million to develop and each note costs around 7p each to print, a cost which could be avoided by encouraging a societal shift towards cashless payments.

Our latest research shows, that if given the option, 26% of us would never choose to pay cash when buying an item in a shop and more than a quarter of us (26.35%) find it irritating when we have to pay by cash rather than by card. Physical money is fast becoming redundant in today’s increasingly tech driven society with a third (33%) of the UK stating that they never use cash anymore [1]. The popularity of mobile and contactless payments demonstrates the changing payment landscape in the UK, lessening our dependency on cash. The easier it becomes to handle your finances with a smartphone, the fewer reasons people have to carry physical cash.

38 million transactions were made in 2016 using mobile payments, accounting for £288m [2] spent using mobile phones, an astonishing 247% increase on the year before. Pubs, bars and restaurants made up for 20% of all mobile payments processed and ‘Meal Deal’ hotspots for workers buying lunch – such as supermarkets and grocery stores – accounted for 54%, further emphasising the decreasing demand for physical cash.

We are even seeing high street brands recognise the importance of offering multiple payment methods to drive customer loyalty. For example, Burger King launched their own cryptocurrency called WhopperCoin, designed as a virtual wallet to allow people to collect coins on every Burger King purchase which can then be traded, saved and shared.

The current, or old, £10 note has been in our pockets for decades, but I predict the share of contactless payments will more than triple in the next five years to almost eradicate cash. In the digital age, cashless payment methods are king.

[1] Research by Arlington Research on behalf of PPRO Group carried out 19 – 21 April 2017 speaking to 2000 UK adults.