Banknote Maker Warns of Dismally Low Demand

Photo credit: Andy Thrasher/Flickr

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In the near future cash won’t be cold or hard anymore. In fact, it won’t have any physical characteristics at all.

De La Rue, a UK-based company that designs more than a third of the world’s banknotes, said on Wednesday that demand for hard cash is at a 20-year low, causing its share price to drop more than 30%.


While cashless payments may already seem ubiquitous to our readers, the embrace of the tap-and-go has not been a fully global phenomenon. De La Rue’s home country, however, has welcomed cashless payments with a full-on bear hug as banking body UK Finance found in August 2022 that roughly 23 million out of Britain’s population of 60 million used virtually no cash the previous year.

De La Rue’s warning indicates that the shift from cash to tap will spread fast, and that countries which have held onto hard currency a little more firmly than Blighty are starting to loosen their grip:

  • De La Rue’s board announced its estimated operating profit for 2024 is “in the low £20 million range,” whereas previously it had been set around £40 million.
  • The announcement came the day after De La Rue’s new CFO Charles Andrews started in his role. Heck of a second day.

Royal Disappointment: De La Rue is the company in charge of designing and printing the first UK banknotes to carry the face of its new monarch, King Charles III. Although he will be getting crowned in May, the notes won’t be circulated until the middle of next year. Poor Charles, after waiting so long to see his face on a banknote, the currency is basically obsolete. Then again, given the track record of English kings called Charles, he’s doing relatively well…