Can Poland be entirely cashless?

At the end of 2019, Polish people had nearly 40 million payment cards in their wallets, the vast majority of which (87%) included proximity cards [1]

Cashless payments enjoy an impressive – and still growing – popularity in Poland, permanently changing the habits of people. Where does this phenomenon come from? Poland has a very well-developed network for cards acceptance (to which undoubtfully contributed the program Cashless Poland), and BLIK system is commonly used as a payment method e.g. in e-commerce services (and its popularity will certainly increase due to the Covid-19 pandemic). Of course, the comfort and convenience in everyday use of this payment method is also important.

What happens with the currency in the meantime?

It is still in circulation and is doing well 🙂  In my assessment, the process of total cash elimination will be tough and long. Many countries have set themselves ambitious goals to eliminate banknotes and coins, “cashless society” was a trend widely covered in the media. And yet no country in the world has yet decided to do so (Finland is the closest one apparently). Let’s take a look at Sweden, where initially full cash elimination was planned, but after a few years the idea was abandoned, setting the percentage of currency in circulation at 20%.

Social issues are also significant – in 2018, 17% of people in Poland did not have a bank account, and many citizens couldn’t afford a credit card[2]. This means that they cannot make cashless transactions (for example, paying for basic items), which leads to another form of social exclusion.

Opponents of cash trade often use the argument that there are costs to money in circulation. Of course, it is significant. But we should remember that cashless operations also bear the costs, i.e. IT security of the transaction.

The acceleration of cash elimination process can naturally be influenced by eventual legal regulations limiting the amount of cash payments in business relations to minimum.

What about banks? 

For several years now I have been noticing the change in customer service in banks in favour of self-service, especially for retail customers. However, it is worth remembering that, although banks will not attract new clients with their cash offers, they may lose them if cash service concept is poorly prepared.

Operating cash in banks should be safe, quick and convenient. Moreover, it should not generate additional costs. All those characteristics are fulfilled by self-service devices, such as banknote counters or coin sorting machines. Especially in case of corporate clients, using those devices allow to automize the process of service, which with increasing employee costs makes difference to the banks.

Sygnity S.A. specializes in delivery, installation and maintenance of advanced solutions for automating cash operations. Delivered devices meet the most rigorous norms and regulatory criteria imposed by National Bank of Poland.

Our partners are the best producers, including company Gisecke+Devrient – world-class manufacturer of cash processing devices and systems, which is also one of the world’s largest suppliers of banknotes. Cooperation between our companies is an example of business partnership aimed at providing clients with complementary services by combining the highest class equipment from G+D producer and expert knowledge of Sygnity’s engineers and consultants in the field of support and service. Using our competencies in software production and integration with banking systems, we support  offered equipment in terms of application, adapting them to the needs of our clients as well as banking regulations. Our offer includes i.e. counters with the function of sorting, identifying and separating banknotes that should be eliminated from circulation and counterfeit banknotes. Our team provide operational throughout the country.

[1] Data from National Bank of Poland at the end of IV quarter of 2019
[2] According to the report of National Bank of Poland: „Attitude of Polish to cashless circulation February 2017”