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Everybody should have the right to a bank account

The right - and the obligation to open one (fees are normally not high). No salary should be paid in cash - and social benefits only to accounts. How much could be saved - and how much crime avoided.

In the past banks did turn down customers who were considered risky and being unprofitable. With direct debit cards and automation the risks and costs have been lowered so much that these arguments are not acceptable. In most countries it is already now almost impossible to lead a normal life without a bank account. In the future it will be even more so - in all countries.

Good article here: http://www.economist.com/node/21530164

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Comments: (2)

Ainsley Ward
Ainsley Ward - CGI - Toronto 10 October, 2011, 20:13Be the first to give this comment the thumbs up 0 likes

I was of the same opinion until recently. Here in Belgium there is a mandate for banks to offer a BBA (Basic Bank Account) to anyone that wants one - unless they've been blacklisted. This means that only 6000 or so adults in Belgium don't have a bank account (National Bank figures). However, Belgium has one of the highest usages of cash versus electronic payments (over 80% cash). Belgium is one of the most advanced in deploying SEPA instruments and e-invoicing is readily available from most utility companies (via zoomit and others). So everything is in place to avoid the circumstances that you highlight but it still isn't working. Why? My best guess is one of the contributing factors is the tax system - and its role in the cash economy. Another factor is the high cost of card acceptance for merchants. And of course, the lack of solutions for temporary workers to receive non-cash salaries. Solutions to address these such as prepaid cards, mobile or alternate card acceptance and greater social awareness of the costs of cash to every citizen are all things that can be tackled by the banking sector and Government - but the real driver has to be a consumer pull rather than an sectoral push.

Bo Harald
Bo Harald - Transmeri, Demos, Real Time Economy Program,MyData - Helsinki Region 10 October, 2011, 20:23Be the first to give this comment the thumbs up 0 likes

Cash is used because of the black economy. The black economy is a huge cost for society - in so many ways. We naturally need stiff competition to drive card acquiring costs down - but in this equation we need regulation making cash cost more visible - and even subsidising card payments would be good for society at large.

 

Bo Harald

Bo Harald

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