On the 11th March, Chancellor of the Exchequer, Rishi Sunak, announced that he would introduce a legislation that would protect access to cash for the millions of people that rely on physical forms of money. Steadily over the years, there has been a decrease in the use of physical cash across the UK, this has resulted in the number of cash points being reduced and nationwide bank closures. For many who live outside of cities and bustling towns, the need for cash is significantly higher due to multiple factors ranging from lack of internet connection and technology to lower income areas which predominantly rely on cash.
However, the Covid-19 outbreak has sped up the digitisation of the UK. Fears amounted with regards to the virus being transmittable via cash, thus contactless and digital payments were encouraged instead, inevitably combined with the ‘stay at home’ directive, this led to an increase in online payments. Halifax reported a 65% increase in the number of over 65s sign up for online banking, Santander also reported an increase in sign ups.
Although the lockdowns have caused upheaval on the economic and health system, with thousands of people losing their jobs and being furloughed, cash proved that it was still king. During March, there was an increase in the number of people depositing cash into interest-bearing accounts, even though the Bank of England had cut rates to 0.1%. Marcus by Goldman Sachs were forced to stop accepting new customers as they had reached their limit.
At Akoni, in spite of the fact that our panel banks have been affected by the Bank of England's decision, we continue to offer competitive rates and access to our marketplace where you can check out offers and products from providers we do not currently work with.
It is clear that even though the pandemic has accelerated the adoption of digital payments, the UK was already on a trajectory to becoming cashless. Fintechs have driven innovations that bridge the gap between banks and the consumers, by offering products that are focused around their needs. Now, it is possible to manage money effectively without having to enter a bank and with the use of APIs and AI technology, financial services have never been so safe, easily accessible and personalised.
About Akoni: Akoni is an award-winning UK cash platform, which provides a marketplace to SMEs and charities, as well as to individuals through our white label distribution partners including IFAs, wealth platforms, accountants and SME hubs. Akoni uses innovative technology to personalise cash planning solutions for clients, and also provides a full API solution to banks and insurance clients.
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