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Not even FinTechs can replace cash, Auriga responds to new £20

Cash will likely outlive cards, Auriga’s Senior Vice President has stated, as the Bank of England issues the new polymer £20 note in the UK.

JMW Turner features on the new £20 note

JMW Turner features on the Bank of England’s new £20 note

Niccolo Garzelli from banking software provider Auriga commented that while card payments have overtaken cash as the most popular form of payment, the talk of the death of cash is much exaggerated.

He told IBS Intelligence: “I am confident in saying that I believe cash will outlive cards, as we are already seeing credit and debit cards being replaced by smartphones and smart devices. But not even innovation from FinTechs and challenger banks will be able to replace cash.

“Don’t get me wrong – technological innovation is vital. For the same reason, it is important to protect access to cash – giving people choice.”

PSD2 and Open Banking have helped encourage and improve the experience of managing money for many, but there will always be people who find it easier to keep track of disposable income by physically seeing how much they have left to spend, including those at risk of getting into debt, and children, Garzelli continued.

Over two billion £20 notes, featuring artist JMW Turner, entered circulation for the first time today, and it is the first to feature the signature of Sarah John, the bank’s current Chief Cashier.

John said: “Moving the £20 note to polymer marks a major step forward in our fight against counterfeiting. I am very grateful to everyone across the cash industry who has made this transition possible and I hope the public enjoy using their new Turner £20s.”

Garzelli added that it is vital to continue improving the way cash works for consumers, including protecting access to it, which is why it is reassuring to hear from the Bank of England that counterfeit attempts for the polymer versions of the £5 and £10 notes have been low and easier to spot and that the £20 note also embeds effective security features.

“The new notes are also more inclusive, as they contain raised dots that help the visually impaired tell it apart from lower denominations. Continued investment in both cash itself and its availability is absolutely key,” he said.

“The 2019 Access to Cash report noted 8m UK adults would struggle to cope in a cashless society, and with poverty the biggest indicator of cash dependency. We are talking about some of the most vulnerable people in our society losing out as access to cash declines, for example, due to the continued closure of free-to-use ATMs and bank branches.”

“The argument for protecting access to cash is not about keeping cash for sentimental reasons but is about securing the livelihoods of the people it directly affects,” Garzelli argued.

Paper £20 notes can continue to be used as normal. The bank will give 6 months’ notice ahead of legal tender status being withdrawn.

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