Bristol Pound: Last day of circulation means end of an era for local currency

29-09-21 Bristol pound notes-Bristol Live
One Bristol Pound was equivalent to one normal pound.  Credit: Bristol Live

The Bristol Pound will cease to exist after today, with a new scheme expected to launch in its place.

The UK's largest local currency came into circulation in 2012 to encourage more spending at the city's independent businesses to boost the economy.

Both small and big firms got on board, with five million Bristol Pounds being spent by 2017.

However, in February of this year, those in charge of the Bristol Pound’s community interest company announced the current project would not be able to continue unless they received new funding.

The digital scheme closed in August last year, with Bristol Pound accounts reverted to regular accounts at the Great Western Credit Union.

The initiative will now become 'Bristol Pay', which will use contactless transactions to help fund social and environmental projects in the city among other things.

The former Mayor of Bristol, George Ferguson, accepted his entire salary in Bristol Pounds. Credit: ITV News

Part of the pound's downfall was the increase in popularity of contactless bank cards and things like Apple Pay.

The scheme used an app that informed the system by texting a unique code to transfer money which could take up to ten minutes, whereas contactless payments are confirmed in seconds.

The use of paper currency falling since the pandemic started has further hampered the scheme.

Diana Finch, managing director of Bristol Pound CIC said: "Today is a day to look back with pride at the accomplishments of the Bristol Pound project.

"We achieved worldwide recognition for our work in raising the profile of the importance of localisation in our economy. But we're not spending too much time looking back - we're firmly focused on our new project, which has the potential to radically change our perception of our personal impact, creating a collaborative tool to address our societal and environmental problems."

Anyone who wants to be reimbursed for their Bristol Pound or find out more information on the new scheme can do so via the Bristol pound website.