Is There £600m Down the Back of Your Sofa?

Date Posted: 17-09-2015

The value of banknotes in circulation has trebled to more than £60bn in the last twenty years, the Bank of England has revealed.

Here are five facts about the cash in your wallet (or maybe under your mattress or down the back of your sofa):

1. The £60bn of physical banknotes sloshing around amounts to about £1,000 worth of banknotes for each person in the UK.

The coins doing the rounds make up a far smaller amount: at the end of March 2015, there was only £4.2bn worth of coins in circulation.

2. No more than half of the banknotes in circulation are used within the British economy for transactions and "hoarding".

That means around £30bn in cash is probably overseas or being used in the shadow economy, which is an illegal economic activity.

Around 18% of people hoard their cash; the average hoarder stashing around £345 - this equates to at least £3bn in cash 'under our mattresses or down the back of the sofa'.

3. A small percentage of the cash is also likely to have been accidentally lost or destroyed.

Data from countries which gave a deadline for exchanging their old currencies before the euro was brought in suggested lost or destroyed money may account for around 1% of the cash in circulation.

4. The largest cash robbery in British history took place at the Securitas depot in Kent, in February 2006.

More than £53m (£71m in today's money) in banknotes were stolen.

5. The introduction of credit cards in 1966, debit cards in 1987 and now contactless payments means that many people have questioned the future role of cash.

However, the Bank of England thinks cash has a few more decades in it: the next generation of banknotes are being printed on harder wearing polymer.

The new £5 bank note, featuring Sir Winston Churchill on it, is due to launch in the Autumn of 2016, followed by the new £10 bank note featuring Jane Austen around a year later.

The new £20 bank note will be launched in the next three to five years and will feature another historical character. According to the bookies, William Blake, JMW Turner and John Constable are favourites to replace Adam Smith.

To securely store your hard earned cash... simply pop into The Safe Deposit Centre Manchester or call us on 0161 273 7487