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22 January 2019

TIME FOR ‘MASSIVE’ CASH WAKE-UP – NEW CONFERENCE ADDRESSES CRITICAL ISSUES

“We can’t afford a cashless world…” says event chair

People need urgently to wake-up to the implications of the disappearance of cash as society faces the ‘dangers’ of a cashless world, says the organisers behind a the aptly-titled ‘Future of Cash’ conference.

The event will see central bankers and global decision makers from financial institutions, currency producers and cash management companies, gather in Athens, Greece (20/21 February 2019) to discuss current cash usage and what profitable measures can be adopted to secure its future.

In much of the world cash usage continues to grow alongside the growth in alternative payment methods.  As the only event of its type, the 15th ‘Future of Cash’ conference will draw heavily on examples and case studies of cash models and optimisation around the world.

It will play host to a panel discussion to draw conclusions and consider the implications for cash for society and cash stakeholders.

In particular, the event will seek practical steps to maintain cash usage, particularly reducing the cost of cash in circulation for society and cash users.   

These include the adoption of new technologies and processes, such as the hastening of new networks of ‘public utility’ ATMs which can benefit wider society as the banks look to pool their infrastructures in an effort to curb the cost of cash in circulation.

The role of retailers will also come under the spotlight, specifically how they can play a central role in any new-look future cash network, providing accessible services to local communities through ‘smart till’ technology as banks continue to trim the footprint of their branches.

The sense that cash’s position is changing and that this will only continue to accelerate, has never been stronger, said John Winchcombe, conference chair and organiser.

He says: “Cash offers choice, freedom and financial inclusion for billions of people around the world. But equally the future is rapidly evolving, and so the issues require extensive debate and examination.”

A 2018 report, published last month (December 2018) by the Access to Cash Review in the UK - one of the countries in the so-called vanguard of cashless payments - found that around one in six people continue to regard cash as a necessity.

The deputy governor of the Bank of England and Nicky Morgan, chair of the UK Government’s Treasury Committee, have also added their support to cash, saying that it remains important, and that it will continue to do so well into the future as a convenient way to make payments.

In this context John Winchcombe says: “The future of cash is very important - the dangers of a cashless world, in which billions of people could be left behind, are real.

“So, this latest conference comes as a timely opportunity to wake-up and really consider the future for all those involved in cash and payment technologies.”

He also adds that once the current cash infrastructures disappear, they will be gone for forever: “We will never be able to get them back. In this world, people without bank accounts will find themselves marginalised, disenfranchised from an infrastructure that previously supported them.

“This is why we need to have the big cash debate now. It’s important for all our futures and why policy and decision makers will come together in Athens to address the changing environment and what progress can be made to secure a stronger, brighter future.”

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