How Will Britain’s Polymer Bank Notes Change Payments?

Polymer, plastic, money, notes, bank of england, payments, cash, new notes, customer engagement

As the dream of companies like MasterCard and currencies like Bitcoin is a future where society is cashless, physical cash will never really cease to exist. It is, however, more likely to change in appearance.

Following in the stead of countries like Australia, New Zealand and Canada, Great Britain will be getting ‘plastic' money from 2016. At least, that's the ideal – and we won't get a final decision until December this year.

The first not to be polymerised will be the £5 note and will generally look similar to the current £5. Notes will still increase in size as they increase in denomination, and – due to being thinner than paper – they'll be 15 per cent smaller overall.

What does this mean for the word of payments then?

Well, it means that we may well see an increase in cash spending. Notes will be more durable and more portable than before thanks to their smaller size meaning they aren't a pain to put into wallets or fold up into pockets.

Notes also won't get destroyed in the washing machine or soaked in a wet wallet when you're caught in the rain.

This may all sound trivial, but it's things like this that reduce the likelihood of your average consumer paying with cash when there's other methods available.

We all know that cash is the easiest way for many to track their spending, being able to know how much money they've taken out and spent in a day. If money is more durable and easier to look after, then it's more than likely people will start using it far more than before.

Of course, polymer notes come with their own issues, but any revolving around temperature problems are unlikely to occur in the UK.

What's your thought on plastic notes making their way into the UK payments scene over time?

Do you think it'll help boost cash usage, or would you rather see people move into the digital realm by 2016?


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