A new ‘change card and app’ service by British start-up Shrap has just started real life trials – with the first two pilots now underway Rochford in Essex and Denny in Scotland as part of Community Access to Cash Pilots. The pilots will run until the end of September.
Shrap aims to make cash more efficient and convenient by removing the need for coins – including low domination coins – many of which are only used once, representing huge waste and inefficiency. Shrap is just one of a select group of providers tackling the challenges facing cash. It has seen significant demand for the service both in the UK and internationally, and plans to roll out nationwide later in 2021.
With a significant reduction in cash use – particularly during the covid-19 pandemic – the cost of maintaining the infrastructure to sort, transport and distribute cash has become unsustainable.
Shrap hopes to help ease the burden on the UK’s cash infrastructure by removing the need for low-denomination coins in particular – many of which are only used once, representing huge waste and inefficiency.
Shrap’s service has been designed to replicate the way coins work, but without the overheads. When using cash in a shop, the business can give change onto a Shrap card. Customers can store their change on the card – or Shrap’s mobile app – and make small payments to shops and friends, anonymously and for free.
There is no need to provide any personal details, and there is no charge for using the service. Shrap is regulated by the FCA and makes money by earning interest on the money it holds.
Following a successful trial in Bournemouth, England, Shrap was chosen for the Access to Cash initiative as one of a select group of solution providers tackling the various challenges facing cash. The Shrap service will also start a further trial shortly in Millisle, Northern Ireland.
The independent Access to Cash Review in 2019 found that a large proportion of people continue to rely on cash. For businesses, however, the rising costs and inconvenience of handling cash have led many to seek alternatives.
“One of the biggest risks to cash is its continued acceptance by businesses, and the biggest driver of cash acceptance is the cost and hassle of handling it” said Natalie Ceeney CBE, Chair of the Community Access to Cash Pilots.
“We are excited to be working with Shrap across several communities, trialling an innovative solution that enables businesses to continue accepting cash but without the expense and hassle of handling coins. Removing the need for coins in a cash transaction is another step to help us keep cash sustainable.”
“We respect that many people value coins, but are realistic about the fact that cash is under greater threat than ever before – and that it must evolve to compete with digital payment methods”, said Shrap CEO and co-founder, Chris Forero-Slee.
“We believe that people have the right to choose how they pay one another, without fees and privacy concerns. For this reason, we strongly support the future of cash, but it must be cost-effective to be sustainable.
Our digital alternative to coins delivers significant efficiency gains while maintaining what is good about coins: free to use, accessible to all, and they don’t require your personal data. Crucially, Shrap removes inefficiencies and safety concerns that threaten to undermine cash as a whole.”