Coinless Society
Coinless Society
  • Lee Il-bong
  • 승인 2017.01.01 16:49
  • 댓글 0
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On Jan. 12, 2016, the Bank of Korea (BOK) announced that it will focus on the research of coinless society this year. It revealed its plan to make a coinless society by 2020. Due to the high cost of coin casting, coinless societies are rising as the alternative of coin economies. There is a well-known incident of people who melted bunch of 10 KRW coins and made it into copper and zinc. 54 billion KRW was spent in 2015, making coins. According to the data of Korea Minting, Security Printing & ID Card Operating Corp in 2007; 40, 91, 139, 192 KRW was spent for making 10, 50, 100, 500 KRW coins respectively. Korea is not the only country that suffers from this problem. Many countries, including the U.S.A and U.K., also suffer from same situation. Survey results conducted by the BOK support the introduction of coinless society. 50.8% of respondents expressed approval to the introduction of a coinless society, while 23.7% expressed disapproval. Meanwhile, 83.7% of respondents replied only coins in the change should be saved, which represents the necessity of cash. The BOK proposed a gradual decrease of coin usage, not an immediate elimination of coins.According to the BOK, the first step demonstration project will be conducted next year. It will be mainly conducted at the convenience stores, most of which already have transportation card recharging system. From next year, change after the purchase in convenience store can be recharged to their transportation card. Further projects, such as card point or mileage saving or direct transfer to bank account will be discussed after the first demonstration project successfully proves its effectiveness. North European countries are the representatives of coinless society. Most of them have already adopted a coinless society model in their countries. In Sweden, the ratio of cash usage to total consumer purchase is about 20%. It is possible to say that those countries are going on stage as a ‘cashless society’. One notable fact is that the Korean economic ecosystem is also rapidly changing. Our society is definitely changing with regard to payment method. According to the economy report of the BOK, the ratio of cash usage (based on the number of cases) is decreasing while the percentage of other payments, for instance, credit card and check card are continuously increasing. Finally, in 2015, cash became the second biggest payment method (36.0%) for the first time, and credit card replaced the biggest payment method (39.7%). The ratio based on the amount of purchase is clearer. Credit card use accounted for 40.7% of the total amount and cash accounted for only 29.0% in 2015. However, there are a lot of people who express concerns about the coinless society. They worry about the social fund that will be spent in making the foundations of the newly introduced system. Moreover, they insist the coinless society is only a step before the cashless society, and it will definitely separate specific classes of people who are not familiar with digital technologies from the mainstream of the economy. Some people have pointed out that a coinless society will also enable the government to monitor every person’s economic activity.

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