retail news in context, analysis with attitude

by Kevin Coupe

As has been noted here on MNB, the British government has taken the forward-looking, 21st century position that because checks are an inefficient way of transacting commerce, they will be banned in the UK as of 2018. Compare that to the US, where we have senators sitting on financial services committees who have admitted that they have only a passing familiarity with the use of ATM cards.

When the UK initiative is mentioned, one of the questions that inevitably comes up is how British people will be able to give money to each other when they don't have cash and checks no longer are available to them.

Well, the Associated Press reports on one possible answer: Visa has announced that “it is creating a service to allow individuals to use their own Visa or a bank account to send money to a personal Visa debit, credit or prepaid card. Users also may bring cash to a participating bank to make a transfer. Users also will be able to send money using a recipient's mobile phone number or e-mail address. In those cases, recipients will receive a message that someone is sending them money and then enter their own Visa account number to receive it.”

Now, the fees that Visa may charge for this service are not mentioned in the story; based on the history of the company and what we know about interchange fees, it is entirely possible that they will be usurious.

Put that aside for a moment. The fact is that this is 21st century thinking.

There are always reasons not to do things. But real 21st century thinking finds innovative solutions, and leaps ahead, rather than be tethered forever to the traditions and methods of the past.

And that’s our Tuesday Eye-Opener.
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