THE UK ranks as the world’s third most cashless country behind Canada and Sweden. Will Hurst, Head of Commercial Development at Monevo, part of Quint Group, has some thoughts on how to get ready for a world without paper and coins.
1 – Invest in Tech
Contactless transactions have long been the most common transaction method in the UK. Moving forward, your phone and wearable tech will no doubt see virtual cards replace your plastic.
Where will the quest for convenience lead society? Fingerprint and facial recognition tech exist in most modern handsets and wearables and its use is on the rise. For the more daring, microchip implant technology is available and seeing growth in the world’s most cashless society, the progressive Sweden.
Orwellian nightmare or the future? Whatever your limits may be, ensuring you have the ability to make payments via various methods is key. If one payment method fails, and you lose or break your primary payment device, you’ll need a back-up or replacement.
2 – Get cards with different networks
The entire country is reliant on the ability of the card processing network giants that are Visa and Mastercard (and to a lesser extent on our shores, Amex). If one system goes down, which has happened in recent years, having a card with another network would be the only way you could make a payment in a world where cash was no longer king.
3 – Download a personal finance management app
Cashless payments remove the pain of spending and handing over our hard-earned physical cash. One click is all it takes to make instant purchases, and the number of available subscriptions services only seem to be expanding … you only have to look at the way we consume television or movies on Netflix, Amazon Prime Video, Disney+, AppleTV, BT Sport, NowTV … the list goes on.
Equally, we’re using more accounts to manage our money. The answer? There’s a host of great applications out there that can help you aggregate your accounts into one place, track what you’re spending and where you’re spending it, alongside loads of other cool savings and investment features. Check out Plum, Yolt or Moneybox, who can help you make the most of your money.
Clearly, they can’t track where you spend your physical cash (no doubt this is welcomed by some!), but as cash usage dies these personal finance management tools will only become more powerful, prevalent and useful products.
4 – Stay Safe
A world with less cash will mean a world with more cyber-crime. Protect yourself where you can. Many neo banks offer virtual cards that allow you to change your card numbers in a couple of taps, which in turn, automatically updates your e-wallet (Google Pay / Apple Pay).
The likes of Monese, Starling, Revolut and Monzo all lead the way here for consumers, with all major card companies offering virtual business account solutions. Both Google and Apple Pay will tell you who you’re paying, before you complete the transaction so that if you’re paying for the Big Issue via their iZettle partnership or to a charity on your phone, you can ensure the money is going to the right place.
For the crypto traders out there, do your research on the right wallet as these are a high priority target for hackers.
5 – Educate the next generation
Gen Z have grown up seeing transactions as nothing more than taps of cards, a swipe of a watch or a click on a basket. A bank account can be opened in minutes with credit obtained and paid into your account on the same day. This is undoubtedly positive progression (Monevo’s panel has many lenders supporting same day funding).
But with young folk rarely seeing money change hands, is this affecting their understanding of the impact of how they interact with cash and credit? Financial education was none existent in my school days and progress here in the UK is slow. This needs to change. In the meantime, with cashless payment methods removing the pain of spending, we should all take a note of what we’re paying for, either via credit or debit methods. Always borrow responsibly!
I’m a huge advocate of digital transactions, rarely carrying cash (to the frustration of my colleagues when the birthday collection comes around!). What is certain is that the speed of transactions, cost savings, hygiene factors are all positives for businesses and for society. Tracking transactions in real-time means keeping a closer eye on fraudulent activity.
So much truly amazing technology is being developed to guide us closer to a seamlessly cashless society, representing a huge opportunity. We do however need to be wary of pitfalls, with progress in financial inclusion for the underbanked and those that solely rely on cash.
Will we ever see a totally cashless society? Who knows? If you’re really scared of a totally digital banking ecosystem when 2030 comes around, and cash is extinct, you could always go full circle and use your retina-scanning watch to blink checkout on some precious metals to bury under the mattress.
‘MOVE FAST BUT DON’T BREAK THINGS’ – WHY FINTECHS WILL COME TO LOVE REGULATION
Alex Johnson, Director of Portfolio Marketing, FICO
The guiding ethos of fintech is move fast and break things. It’s the fundamental advantage that disruptors have over the incumbents they’re disrupting — the ability to move quickly and make mistakes, learn from them and deliver innovative services to customers. Generally, this ethos is presented as a virtue. Banking is ‘broken’ so any investments in improving it are both notable and noble – even if there are bumps along the way.
Conversely, anything that stands in the way of this ‘march of progress’ is generally cast as a villain.
The most prominent villain for fintech companies is regulation. From their perspective, it’s a competitive moat, based on rules written for a different century, that protects banks’ ability to make money without needing to innovate and offer more or improved services to their customers.
So, it’s easy to see why a fintech company — believing fully in the virtue of its mission and faced with a litany of illogical and intractable regulations — might just say ‘we’re doing it anyway.’ That’s what Robinhood co-founder Baiju Bhatt reportedly did when his company tried to roll out a checking and savings product that it claimed was insured without confirming that with regulators first.
The problem is that while we may mythologise the ‘move fast and break things’ ethos in the abstract, consumers don’t love it when their stuff breaks in the real world.
And when fintechs and challenger banks aren’t constrained by regulation (as they mostly are in the U.S and Europe) the harm caused by this ‘move fast and break things’ approach can be much more severe than a service outage or a false claim of deposit insurance.
Stories from overseas
In China, online P2P lending exploded in popularity, with the number of P2P lenders growing from 50 in 2011 to 3,500 in 2015. Then the whole industry imploded when it was revealed that 40% of P2P lending platforms were Ponzi schemes.
In India, online lending companies raised a record $909 million in venture capital last year (the third-biggest market behind the U.S. and China). And those lenders are now using personal data from borrowers’ mobile phones to make lending decisions – which although illegal, is reportedly ignored by Indian regulators.
In the Philippines (another emerging market where venture capital dollars for online lending are pouring in), the National Privacy Commission is investigating hundreds of complaints from consumers about lending apps leveraging their personal data to shame them into making their payments.
A prediction for the decade to come
In the 2020s, I believe fintech companies will come to love – or at least quietly appreciate – regulation for two primary reasons:
Fintechs and challenger banks understand that brand recognition and affinity is key to their long-term success. Building their brands will be a challenge. A recent survey of 2,000 Brits found 40% don’t trust challenger banks at all and 67% said they are more likely to do business with banks that have branches on the high street. As Zach Bruhnke, co-founder and CEO of U.S. challenger bank HMBradley recently said, ‘We’re going to have to grow by word-of-mouth and doing the right things for our customers.’
Fintechs and challenger banks focused on the long-term task of building brand affinity and trust will, over the next decade, come to despise bad actors that skirt the rules and dress up get-rich-quick schemes in the same language they use to describe their own firms. Regulations that constrain and/or shut down these bad actors will be increasingly appreciated by legitimate market participants.
In the 2010s, we saw the beginning of a trend that will strengthen in the 2020s — regulations designed to foster competition between incumbents and new market entrants. To date, such regulatory action has run the gamut, from vague (innovation sandboxes and special-use charters) to hyper-specific (U.S. regulators’ cautiously approving the use of alternative data, or the Bank of England considering giving non-banks access to its 500-billion-pound balance sheet). Perhaps, most promising, has been the work done by the Competition and Markets Authority (CMA), which has been proactively driving the adoption of rules and standards around Open Banking for past couple of years. O
ver the next decade, through careful management of public perception and increased investment in lobbying, fintechs and challenger banks will further reshape the regulatory environment from a competitive moat to a more level playing field.
Reaching fintech maturity
’As a licensed broker-dealer, we’re highly regulated and take clear communication very seriously. We plan to work closely with regulators as we prepare to launch our cash management program’.
This was the statement issued by the chastened co-founders of Robinhood shortly after they backed away from their plan to launch a checking and savings product without government insurance. And here’s the crazy part — that’s exactly what happened! Less than a year later the company announced a new deposit product, this time insured by the Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation (FDIC).
As fintech companies mature in the 2020s and the focus of their strategic objectives shifts from growth to profitability, regulation will play a vital role in transforming the ethos of those companies into something a bit more sustainable. Call it ‘Move fast, but don’t break things’.
HOW TO MERGE YOUR FINANCES AS A COUPLE?
By Nelisiwe Ndlovu, Certified Financial Planner at Alexander Forbes
There is never a good time to discuss finances with your partner, married or unmarried, and one key issue that needs to be discussed is whether you should merge your finances.
Joining all your money matters can seem overwhelming at first, so you don’t have to combine every bank account and credit card from the get-go.
Start by having an honest discussion with regards to your individual money management and financial commitments before deciding to merge or co-manage your household finances while deciding if you want to fully merge all your finances. Detail all individual income, expenses, and all your financial commitments. The best way to achieve this would be to first take your individual budgets and combine them. This will tell you what you can and cannot afford as a couple. If one partner does not usually budget, this is a chance to start doing so as this will ensure that your household finances are under control.
Before you think about merging your finances, be open and honest about:
- How much you earn – what is the income that you will bring home? What is the frequency of your income? Are you permanently employed or a contractor?
- What are your current individual expenses and financial commitments? List your assets and your current debt.
- Your individual financial goals and money management techniques – don’t worry if you might have not figured this out at the time of merging your finances – the important thing to do is to be open and honest so that you both build a stronger money foundation
- Disclose your financial obligations, this becomes very tricky if left until too late and may cause unnecessary tension in the relationship
- What are your goals as a couple – what is the purpose for merging your finances?
Married couples can formally or informally merge their finances as detailed above where household expenses are split between the couple (the split could be 50/50 or any fair split agreed upon by the couple, which could be based percentage-wise depending on one’s income). Some couples tackle finances by adopting the ‘pick a bill’ approach, where one couple pays the water and electricity while the other covers the food.
Being married does not mean necessarily that you need to have one joint account. You may also just want to open one joint account where you each deposit money to pay just your monthly household expenses.
The top five things to remember when merging finances as a couple:
- Have the ability to manage your own finances before expecting another person to merge their finances with you.
- Be mindful of your potential spouse/life partner’s money management behaviour and skills so that there are certain things you can address together before considering merging your finances
- Always keep an open line of communication – honesty is the best policy
- Set a money limit which you can each spend without having to consult each other
- Don’t forget to change your wills and beneficiaries on pension or provident funds as required.
THE END OF YEAR TAX CHECKS THAT COULD SAVE YOU THOUSANDS
Charlie Reading, Founder and MD of Efficient Portfolio After HMRC’s tax return deadline at the end of January, it can be...
RISK VS REWARD: IS AI TAKING OVER?
Xavier Fernandes, Analytics Director at Metapraxis A study by Oxford University academics into “The Future of Employment” in 2013 prompted...
HALO TRUST USES ADAPTIVE INSIGHTS FOR STRATEGIC BUSINESS PLANNING
Cloud-based financial planning helps HALO Trust deliver greater benefit to communities affected by war Adaptive Insights, a Workday company,...
IS DATA PROTECTION AND PRIVACY RELEVANT ACROSS ALL STRATA IN INDIAN SOCIETY?
A Study by Pensaar Design With CGAP Pensaar Design has been working on a research study with CGAP to better...
THE RISE OF CHALLENGER BANKS AND HOW LEGACY BANKS ARE TRYING TO KEEP UP
Jean Van Vuuren, Regional VP for UK, Middle East and South Africa at Alfresco The finance world has been...
NEW STUDY: AI HELPS ORGANISATIONS GROW PROFITS 80 PERCENT FASTER
Global research highlights how organisations are capitalising on emerging technologies to enhance finance and operations for competitive advantage Organisations...
UK START-UPS MUST MAKE THE MOST OF A SMALL WINDOW TO CAPITALISE ON INVESTMENT OPPORTUNITIES, FOX WILLIAMS WARNS
Despite rising investment, Brexit and growing interest from tech giants could cut off start-ups’ opportunities in 2020 While a...
XPEDITION UPGRADES MORE THAN ONE MILLION OPENWORK CLIENTS TO THE DIGITAL AGE
Xpedition, leader in the implementation of cloud-based business applications, has deployed a new system which has digitally transformed the customer...
ORACLE AND MICROSOFT BRING ENTERPRISE CLOUD INTEROPERABILITY TO EUROPEAN CUSTOMERS
Today, Oracle is announcing the continued expansion of its cloud interoperability partnership with Microsoft with a new cloud interconnect location in Amsterdam....
THE EMOTIONAL AND FINANCIAL COST OF WORKING WITH OUTDATED TECHNOLOGY
Slow Tech Could Waste 24 Hours of Worktime a Year In this digital age, businesses are hugely reliant on technology...
HOW TECHNOLOGY IS FUTUREPROOFING STOCK MARKET TRADING
Tony Shaw, Executive Director, London Office and Head Sales UK & Ireland at the Swiss Stock Exchange Markets are shifting,...
REVEALED: THE TOP 10 COUNTRIES THAT ARE REDUCING THEIR RELIANCE ON OIL
Ben Lobel, Copywriter at DailyFX New tool charts global commodity trading over the last decade The UK has reduced its...
‘MOVE FAST BUT DON’T BREAK THINGS’ – WHY FINTECHS WILL COME TO LOVE REGULATION
Alex Johnson, Director of Portfolio Marketing, FICO The guiding ethos of fintech is move fast and break things. It’s...
OFFSHORE COMPANY FORMATION TACTICS FOR SMEs
James Turner, Director at company formation specialists, Turner Little Starting a business brings with it its own set of challenges,...
EMV® 3DS – PAVING THE WAY FOR SEAMLESS AUTHENTICATION
Jean Fang, Product Manager, FIME The growth of e-commerce, m-commerce and remote commerce transactions is showing no signs of...
WITHOUT C-SUITE COLLABORATION DIGITAL TRANSFORMATION IS UNLIKELY TO BE SUCCESSFUL WITHIN FINANCIAL SERVICES
By Nick Gold, founder and Chief Executive of Speaker’s Corner A path to digital transformation Mapping a clear path...
LOOKING BEYOND THE PAYMENTS PRICE TAG
Rob Straathof, CEO, Liberis In the face of tough competition, cutting costs often seems like the quickest and easiest...
MITEK SETS NEW IDENTITY VERIFICATION STANDARD WITH ONE STEP LIVENESS DETECTION
Omnichannel Liveness Detection ensures more effective, safe and simple identity verification Mitek (NASDAQ: MITK, www.miteksystems.com), a global leader in digital identity...
HOW TO MERGE YOUR FINANCES AS A COUPLE?
By Nelisiwe Ndlovu, Certified Financial Planner at Alexander Forbes There is never a good time to discuss finances with...
INTERNATIONAL BANKING NETWORK IBOS ASSOCIATION APPOINTS NEW MANAGING DIRECTOR
International banking network IBOS Association is delighted to announce the appointment of its new Managing Director, Manoj Mistry. Formerly Managing...