London 7 June 2018 – The European arm of the ATM Industry Association (ATMIA), the only trade association representing the global ATM industry, today reveals its response to the UK Treasury’s call for evidence on the role of cash and digital payments in the new economy.
In its response, the ATMIA makes it clear that it sees no role for the government in encouraging digital payments. To quote the response, the ATMIA believes that for all payment innovations, including in relation to cash and ATMs “the role of government should be to ensure there are as low barriers to entry as is consistent with security considerations; that competition is transparent and equitable; and that the public’s right to choose which payment method to use is paramount.”
The ATMIA also rejects the notion that there are cheaper alternatives to cash. The ATMIA tells the Treasury that “each year, the British Retail Consortium produces a report that demonstrates cash is the cheapest method for their members to process. The gap between the costs of cash transactions and debit card transactions is certainly closing. However, increasing fraud … renders it unlikely that card payments will ever be significantly cheaper for retailers to process.”
The ATMIA goes on to call on the government to intervene to prevent arbitrary cuts in the LINK ATM Network and to stop further “artificial restrictions being placed on cash use. Examples include the bans on the use of cash for ticket purchase on buses, on aircraft and at bridge crossings. There are no grounds for new, similar, measures. A level playing field is required if UK citizens are to retain the right to unfettered payment choice.”
The ATMIA is also firm on its position on the need for higher denomination banknotes, stating “we would prefer to have a £100 note in circulation. Most countries have a higher denomination note than England’s current £50 banknote. We certainly need to see a new polymer £50 note being issued … [as] higher denomination notes are useful for higher ticket purchases and when cash is being used as a store of value.”
Ron Delnevo, Executive Director Europe at the ATMIA commented “Cash remains the payment method of choice for many millions of people around our country. As is often noted by experts, several million UK residents use only cash for the payments they need to make in living their daily lives. However, the fact is that few of the 50 Million adults on these islands would now be so incautious as to leave themselves entirely without cash. As was seen when the Visa card scheme infrastructure crashed last week, only cash can truly be relied on, in every circumstance.” Ron added “the unjustified hype surrounding contactless church collection plates and a similar style of payment for London Buskers ignores the reality that church collections and donations to street performers will continue to be dominated by cash for years to come. The British Public have far too much common sense for it to be otherwise.”
The full submission made by the ATMIA can be read here.