Thousands of Bristol Pounds spent in cash and electronically
AT least £40,000 Bristol Pounds are known to be in circulation around the city just a month on from its official launch.
And more than 350 independent businesses are accepting the new currency.
But this could be just the tip of the iceberg as a further £25,000 has been generated by mobile phone transactions and many retailers are accepting the local currency without informing organisers.
When the currency was launched on September 19, more than 300 retailers had signed up to the scheme. And within a day, more than 50 other businesses had jumped on board.
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More than 300 individuals have also opened accounts with the Bristol Credit Union to use the Bristol Pound.
Organisers say the local currency is increasingly being spent at retailers across the city. Ciaran Mundy, director of the Bristol Pound, said: "It's been going really well.
"We've had lots of enquiries coming through. We don't know how many businesses have joined, as many of them are just saying yes to accepting it without telling us. That's great because it's not our currency, it's everyone's."
Traders have told The Post they have seen a fairly small number of Bristol Pounds being used, but that the figure is growing.
Jayne Marshall, co-director of vintage store and art space Shop, in Christmas Steps, said: "We haven't taken a lot of Bristol Pounds but we've certainly had a lot of conversations with people about it, especially with people who are new to the city. Everyone we've spoken to about it has been really interested and said they were going to set up their own accounts. There's been a lot of buzz."
Maria José, deputy manager at Folk House Café and Bar, said: "Some people ask to have their change in Bristol Pounds, and some people pay with them, but I don't think enough people. But I think it is growing."
Ms José did, however, complain of a lack of information about Bristol Pounds. "I don't know where to pay or where to go to spend them. There's a lack of information."
Olly Chandler, manager at Blackboy Hill Cycles, said: "We've had people coming in and asking if we take it.
"The more it goes on the more people are going to use it. It's like when new notes come out – they're like gold dust at first."
Bristol Pound director Mr Mundy said the focus would now be on encouraging digital payments.