People urgently need to wake up to the implications of the disappearance of cash as society faces the ‘dangers’ of a cashless world. That’s the view of the organisers behind the aptly-titled ‘The 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 on 20-21 February to discuss current cash usage and what profitable measures can be adopted to secure its future.
As the only event of its type, the 15th annual ‘The Future of Cash’ Conference – which is organised by Reconnaissance International – will draw heavily on examples and Case Studies of cash models and optimisation around the world. The event will play host to a panel discussion designed to draw conclusions and consider the implications for society and cash stakeholders. In particular, it will seek practical steps to maintain cash usage, particularly when it comes to reducing the cost of cash in circulation for society and cash users.
One of the areas under discussion will be 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 fall under the spotlight, and specifically in relation to 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 the major banks continue to trim the footprint of their physical branches.
Position of cash changing
The sense that cash’s position is changing and that this will only continue to accelerate has never been stronger, believes John Winchcombe, conference chair and organiser. “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 involved require extensive debate and examination.”
A December 2018 report published 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.
One of the deputy governors of the Bank of England and Nicky Morgan, chair of the UK Government’s Treasury Committee, have added their support to cash, saying that it remains important and reiterating that it will continue to be so well into the future as a convenient way in which to make payments.
In this context, Winchcombe stated: “The future of cash is very important. The dangers of a cashless world, in which billions of people could be left behind, are real. This latest conference is a timely opportunity to really consider the future for all those involved in cash and payment technologies.”
Winchcombe also added that, once the current cash infrastructures disappear, they will be gone forever. “We will never be able to have them back. In this world, people without bank accounts will find themselves marginalised and 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. Policy and decision-makers will visit Athens to address the changing environment and what progress can be made to secure a stronger and brighter future.”
In previous years, ‘The Future of Cash’ Conference has formed part of the EFMA’s Retail Payments Week. However, since April 2016 the event has reverted to its more traditional format of a stand-alone two day event in order to focus on achieving operational efficiencies within the cash cycle. Previous events have been held in Paris and Vienna.
*Details of ‘The Future of Cash’ Conference Programme are available online at www.thefutureofcash.com