The new £20 note: Is cash still relevant?

This is a very important issue that has been inadequately considered by politicians and banks, raising significant risks for everyone. When credit cards were launched, banks were able to charge retailers premium prices for transactions because it was a new service and promised to increase revenue for retailers of all sizes and types. In the main, it did increase transaction rates although some have argued that this was not commensurate with the costs imposed by banks and the additional requirements placed on retailers. When debit cards were launched, the banks used the model they had created for credit cards even though the transaction risks were different and the use of debit cards did not create significant new business for retailers, replacing transactions traditionally completed by cheques. As the use of ‘plastic’ has increased, risks to users and retailers have been inadequately considered and prepared for. Banks have increased their control over their customers in many ways, not least in acquiring even more sensitive private information about their customers. The regulator has failed to control the excesses of banks to both their customers and to retailers. Urgent debate and action is no long overdue – Action This Day!!!!     MgEd

The new £20 note: Do consumers need it?

With the rise of card and in-app payments, are we witnessing the death of cash?

Personal finance expert Dr Roger Gewolb and CEO of next-generation supermarket shopping app Will Broome comment on the future of physical money

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The new polymer £20 note featuring the artist JMW Turner is to go into circulation today. This begins the Bank of England’s task of replacing the most popular banknote in the country.

At least 2 billion have been printed, and the Bank expects half of the country’s cash machines to have switched over within the next fortnight.

However, the British Retail Consortium announced in September that debit cards were the most popular form of payment as falling cash use pushed notes and coins down to third place. The report stated that cash accounted for just over £1 in every £5 spent with UK shops and it argued that rising costs faced by retailers to process card payments could push up prices. Credit and charge cards accounted for £82bn, or 22%, of retail sales last year – outstripping cash (£78bn) for the first time. Spending on debit cards totalled £216bn.

Founder and Executive Chairman of FairMoney.com, Dr Roger Gewolb, commented on the announcement: “There is a payment trend of people moving away from cash, and this presents both pros and cons for consumers. In many cases, cash allows people to budget and save more effectively and card payments can detach people from their purchases which can cause issues. However, with the emergence of budgeting apps and fast credit, consumers have more options to purchase high tickets than ever before. The industry does need to ensure that vulnerable consumers are not preyed upon in the high street through fast loans and retail finance details with minimal checks.”

Founder and CEO of retail technology app Ubamarket, Will Broome, commented on the announcement: “The modernisation of cash is important for consumers as many have become fond of plastic notes, but there is a seismic shift in terms of payment types on the UK high street. Government support to bring down card costs would be welcomed by retailers and shoppers alike but above just recognising the rise of card payments, in-app and mobile payments are fast on the rise, and retailers need to adapt to this trend as it is only likely to increase, especially as cash begins to be replaced by these alternatives.

Retailers need to adopt technology as soon as possible to ensure that they do not fall behind in the retail race. Shops are closing at an unprecedented rate and the speed to adapt to consumer demands has been too slow, essentially pushing retailers under. Embracing technology is the only way to ensure retailers can stay one step ahead of consumer trends to maximise footfall and profitability in the years to come.