DEBATE: Is it time to scrap 1p and 2p coins?


As the future of cashless payment looms closer, is it time to scrap 1p and 2p coins?

Abhijit Deb, head of banking & financial services (UK and Ireland) at Cognizant, says YES.

There is no doubt that we have seen huge swathes of the British public already gravitate towards cashless payments.

Every day we see people ignore the cash in their wallet to pay through their phone or contactless cards. The convenience of not handling coins is obviously a big factor, but digital payments’ ability to track money spent is also a massive driver for banks.

Recognising this trend, acquirers are working to bring smaller merchants into the cashless fold. In London in particular, we often see independent shops and even market stalls accept contactless payments, as more cash-reliant shoppers become exposed to digital payment methods.

Banks are rightly investing in giving customers access to a range of payment options that do not rely on cash. Before 1p and 2p coins are removed completely, the digital payments ecosystem must be enhanced, but the trend is definitely towards these coins being redundant in the near future.

Read more: Government hints at dropping £50 note, 1p and 2p coins

Olivia Utley, news and features editor at Reaction, says NO.

For young professionals living and working in London, coppers are an irritant. Most busy millennials carry out transactions digitally – and when the “cashless society” Philip Hammond is ushering in eventually arrives, it will be welcomed by them.

But for charities and seaside towns, the news that coppers may soon be a thing of the past is a serious worry.

Charities rely on loose change, and those pennies chucked in the box at the McDonald’s counter or outside stations are important to them.

Seaside towns – some of the most deprived areas of the country – also value the humble copper. Amusement arcade push machines, to which tourists flock, use two pence pieces, which are both a good size for the game, and of such little value that gambling concerns are minimal.

Here in bustling London, the cashless society may come as a relief, but Hammond should think long and hard about the rest of the country before he makes another move on this. Cash isn’t quite dead yet.

Read more: Apple boss Tim Cook wants to see the end of cash before he dies

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