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The copper goldmine: Britons are sitting on £50million fortune of loose change

The copper goldmine: Britons are sitting on £50million fortune of loose change with millions having built up savings pots of coins and notes – some containing more than £100 – during lockdown, survey finds

  • Britons held on to cash three times longer in lockdown rather than spending it
  • A survey by UK Finance found six in ten built up a pot of coins and notes at home
  • More than half said they were hoarding it for security one in three saved for gifts


Households are now hoarding £50million in loose change after being unable to spend during the pandemic.

Britons have held on to cash three times longer in lockdown rather than spending or donating it, banking body UK Finance found.

A survey found six in ten had built up a pot of coins and notes at home, with one in four of those having more than £100.

Britons have held on to cash three times longer in lockdown rather than spending or donating it

More than half said they were hoarding it for security, and one in three said they were saving it for gifts or pocket money.

It comes after lockdown forced retailers and restaurants to shut, while some stores refused to take cash and asked for contactless payment instead.

As a result the use of cash plummeted as payments by contactless cards or devices hit record levels. 

The contactless card spending limit will rise from £45 to £100 next month.

But the research by UK Finance found the use of cash had increased four-fold in the 35 to 44 age group after restrictions were eased in April.

The most common coins kept at home were lower denominations – 1p, 2p, 5p and 10p. 

The report found that the storing of notes appeared to be more deliberate, while coin hoarding was typically unintentional.

Adrian Buckle, head of research at UK Finance, said: ‘There are many reasons that people hold cash at home, whether it’s for security, to give as pocket money, or to tip a takeaway driver. 

But for many the weight of coins, particularly coppers, compared to their value means that they are often left at home for long periods.

‘Throughout the Covid-19 lockdowns there has also been less opportunity to spend coins, which has increased the amount of time people have held on to their change.’

The report found that the storing of notes appeared to be more deliberate, while coin hoarding was typically unintentional

The report found that the storing of notes appeared to be more deliberate, while coin hoarding was typically unintentional

UK Finance said its research raised questions about the mix of coins in circulation and whether a modern rethink was needed. 

The banking trade body, along with the Charities Aid Foundation, is now asking people to consider donating some of their spare change.

Eric Leenders, of UK Finance, said: ‘The public has stored over £50million of loose change over the course of the pandemic and as the UK is opening up post-lockdown every pound and penny that can be spared for worthy causes will make a tremendous difference.’

Neil Heslop, chief executive of Charities Aid Foundation, said: ‘Cash donations to charities, normally the country’s most popular way of giving, saw a substantial decline during 2020 and remain at very low levels compared to previous years.

‘As charities struggle to resume fundraising, while continuing to work on the front lines of the response to the pandemic, donating spare loose change would be a huge show of much-needed support at a critical time.’

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