Daily CSR
Daily CSR

Daily CSR
Daily news about corporate social responsibility, ethics and sustainability

At Oberthur Fiduciaire, banknotes mean freedom


Oberthur Fiduciaire is a french-based leading banknote printing company. Today they are working with over 70 central banks across the globe to deliver the most secure banknotes, which will be used for the years to come. In an age where online and electronic payments seem poised to abolish the good old banknote, Oberthur Fiduciaire believes that cash isn’t only practical, it is also the symbol of liberty and freedom. Moreover, it is often more secure than other means of payment.

“Cash is Coined Freedom”, according to Fyodor Dostoyevsky
“Cash is Coined Freedom”, according to Fyodor Dostoyevsky
“There will be a time, I don’t know when, I can’t give you a date, when physical money is just going to cease to exist” recently declared former U.S. Secretary of Labor Robert Reich. Yet, this prophecy could very well be pure fantasy according to many analysts around the world who believe cash will remain the more durable mean of payment through ages.
The main concern for banknote printers is to retain the highest security standards to keep banknotes as secured as electronic and online payment solutions, or maybe more… At Oberthur Fiduciaire, French printing company created in Rennes in 1842, the data reveals that cash still has many good days ahead.
We have found that usage of banknotes has consistently increased over the last fifteen years, between 50% and 100%’ says Thomas Savare, CEO of Oberthur Fiduciaire since 2008 (*). ‘While I can’t predict the future, the volume of printed banknotes is growing faster than GDPs. That might come as a shock considering the rise in electronic payments, but the reality is that cash is still king and growing in developed economies… and even faster in emerging economies’.
Keeping notes’ designs secure is a constant preoccupation. Today banknotes are pieces of art combining the top of the class technologies of papers, inks, holograms and many more security features. At Oberthur Fiduciaire, being ahead of counterfeiters is essential to keep cash the most used method of payment worldwide.
The designs play a very important role in the secure use of our banknotes. ‘Design is essential because it’s a matter of security and conveys the image of a country’ says Savare. ‘We incorporate the security features into the design. Yet there is also an artistic component. You have to be able to understand the history and the symbols of a country to create attractive designs tailored to the specific culture. That is what makes the design of each banknote very interesting.’
But behind the design of our banknotes, the way they are made, printed, there is much more than just money. Banknotes are also part of our identity and of our freedom. Freedom to spend it on what we want when we want without having to worry about tracking or having to go through a bank or an online wallet to buy something.
At Oberthur Fiduciaire, ‘the use of cash remains an essential liberty that everyone should be able to have’ says Savare. Being deprived of cash money would mean that every single one of our purchases can be tracked, monitored, analyzed. It would also mean that every single dime you spend is kept somewhere else than in your own pocket; at a bank or on an online wallet.
But what happens if the system goes down or if the bank goes bankrupt? ‘Most people aren’t criminals or terrorists but they have no wish to see their banks have all their data; how and where they spend their money’ says Savare ‘people should be able to choose how they want to pay and we see across the world that the usage of cash isn’t decreasing even in countries with more and more electronic payment solutions, because they aren’t completely trusted’.
Cash remains today the most trusted means of payment because it is timeless and has taught us the value of money. At Oberthur Fiduciaire, it is hard to imagine a future where children would learn the value of money through cards and applications on their smartphones: ‘we see today that people do enjoy what technology has to offer regarding electronic payments, but yet they aren’t willing to give up on the usage of banknotes, today more and more people are using both methods and we have good reasons to believe that it will remain like this for a long time’.
Oberthur Fiduciaire is printing more and more notes every year as the demand is rising especially in emerging economies. As long as banknotes can discourage counterfeiters, more and more criminal activities will target the online and electronic payment platforms. Meaning that cash might very well remain the most secure way of payment and a cashless society isn’t for tomorrow.

(*) Oberthur Fiduciaire: there’s a lot more to a security printing company than meets the eye, July 5th 2016