New £1 Coin Launch – Do We Still Need Coins?

New 1 Pound Coin UK

The ‘new £1 coin’ received significant TV and press coverage at the weekend, as the new twelve-sided pound coin will be with us in March and the old one will be gone by October 2017.

But this makes me wonder whether UK Plc  has failed somewhat in expediting the move ‘away from cash’. Could HMG have been a little more pro-active – or even assertive – in a UK move towards electronic money?

30 years ago, my first employer (a major Bank) explained that cash would soon disappear; and lots of essays in banking exams required us to understand how soon ‘the end of cash’ would come. Things got even ‘hotter’ in the mid-80s as debit cards became vogue (and maybe you too can recall the UK Switch-card promised the ‘death of poor old cash’ in big ‘prime-time’ TV adverts and major poster campaigns.

Some countries now cheer their governments for their efforts to remove cash and the drop in Money-Laundering that ensued – where Norway leads Scandinavia in seeing cash used by only 6% of the population. Less cheering though in India (amongst others) where the government has removed most of its notes from circulation to fight the money-laundering curse.

The UK, seems to be rather ‘light’ on its strategy and absence of actions to reduce cash use, where cash is almost having a resurgence (along with vinyl records), and where we are all culturally celebrating several new notes and new better coins rather than realising that there are many costs associated with manufacturing these ‘tokens’, proliferating a thriving vending machine industry and the hidden costs of counterfeit money and money-laundering. Indeed, we seem to be moving more towards cash, with recent strategy moves such as:

1. Contactless-card usage that was only ‘rescued from the grave’ by the need for them and active partnerships in tube travel in London with TfL (Transport for London) – and in other cities too.

2. ApplePay / AndroidPay losses being transferred to the merchants and away from the banks and Card Schemes; making cash relatively more attractive to merchants.

3. A new regulator – the PSR (Payment Systems Regulator – a part of the FCA) – that may be making it easier for cash to ‘splutter-on’ way after its predicted demise.

4. No strong demand by consumers for cash replacements or levels of desire to chase new solutions to cash in their pockets.

5. No strong endorsement by the UK lawmakers to set the agenda for digital currencies after various reviews by HMG over the last two years.

As the Royal Mint issues these new ‘old’ coins, should we expect them or the Treasury and/or other parts of government to also have an aggressive strategy to move us to become less dependent on cash. And as part of this, should government not look for the detailed actions that will help to deliver less cash and to encourage the introduction of innovate and easier solutions for you and me as customers to use.

Life could be much easier for us. Banks, retailers and the Royal Mint could remove cash processing costs too (that we ultimately have to pay and we could wipe out many of the cash-based crimes and money-laundering.  ‘Someone’, ‘somewhere’ should be steering us away from cash even as we forge-ahead with this new ‘old money’.

Author Bill Trueman is an eminent payment, due diligence, risk & fraud expert who provide his consultancy services to card issuers, banks, corporates and business organizations all over the world. He is chief of RiskSkill, UKFraud and member of AIRFA.

This article was originally posted at https://www.linkedin.com/pulse/new-1-coin-launch-why-do-we-still-need-coins-bill-trueman

Brexit or Bremain – The Kick up the Arse that Brussels Needed has Come

brexit or bremain, EU Referendum, UK and EU

Bremain will surely still ‘win the day’. YES – Bremain should win in the end.

Privately, I am shocked and amazed that we are talking about leaving a strong and established EU. This could be seen as terrible – and certainly so, if we are actually going to leave the EU. But I doubt this, and believe strongly that this is actually ‘the kicking’ that the EU needs. It will kick-start the process of reform and beautification in the EU that MUST happen to stop the eventual fall-apart of the EU and to attract the UK back into a newer v2.0 version of the EU.

Previously ( https://www.linkedin.com/pulse/brett-brin-trying-objective-ignore-rhetoric-bill-trueman?trk=pulse_spock-articles ), whether we looked at federalism, the Euro, migration, trade etc. the issues were all rather marginal and painted with illogical arguments in the media and by the campaigners on both sides. We were always going to ‘find a way through’ the issues whichever way the vote went. The issue was always ‘less about the rational arguments’, and more about whether we could a) trust a UK government or b) trust a EU government. It seems that the EU governments direction, decisions and massive costs (and corruption) is something that we (voters) cannot live-with in its current / promised form. And in my case, I do not believe that the EU would have delivered the promises that we made to our prime minister ahead of the referendum.

A lot of UK people would have voted with xenophobic hearts or irrational fears about EU rulings against Britain and had a lot of migration concerns – which might have been assuaged had the EU been much better managed and governed and had there not been so many concerns amongst the ’emotional’ voters across the country. But we must put aside these issues now, as ‘we are where we are’.

So what next? What I hope and believe that we WILL see once the dust settles is:

1. A reaction from other EU leaders and ‘shakers’, with further dissent and some strong support around the EU; with a few others starting to talk about leaving / following Britain.

2. An acceptance within the EU that there is now a need for a radical re-think about its size, membership, political direction, currency stability, costs, parliament location, purpose, structures, accountability and the addressing of the corruption issues.

3. A new ‘plan for Europe’ evolving that reflects this direction: driven by and for the EU, and retaining the UK as a member along with any states that will be the ‘soon to be’ followers.

4. A strong plan for the UK on how it will, can and should be part of a ‘new v2 EU’.

This would leave the way towards more involvement for the UK in a new EU, with the UK (once again) closer to its heart. Accordingly, the EU would and could become much more aligned to the needs of all its members.

Idealistic? Maybe, but also now a distinct possibility that this could happen following the referendum.

Whilst I did not want to find us in this position; this could be the biggest and best thing to happen to Europe for almost exactly 71 years; and ***maybe*** the perfect shock that it needed to become a ‘new and great place to be’, and to divert us from becoming another USA.

Now we are here, let’s treat this as a fabulous opportunity; and STOP assuming ridiculous things like ‘visas being required to go on holiday’, ‘that all europeans will have to go home’, ‘that all expats will have to come home’, etc.

Please note also, that we have NOT left the EU yet. We have just given the government a 52% mandate to do so. Panic not!

And as for BREMAIN being the decision in the end…….. as John Lennon said: “It will all be alright in the end, and if it is not alright; then it is not yet the end.”

Views mentioned here are independent of Bill Trueman, director of RiskSkill, who is an eminent fraud & risk management specialist working with a number of business organizations worldwide. Article originally posted by Bill at https://www.linkedin.com/pulse/brexit-bremain-kick-up-arse-brussels-needed-has-come-bill-trueman