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ATMIA hits out at 'anti-cash' financial exclusion lobby

27 April 2017  |  7217 views  |  2 $100

The ATM Industry Association has accused the anti-cash lobby of peddling "fake news" in a desperate attempt to promote the use of non-cash tech and card-based alternatives to drive financial inclusion efforts.

The accusations come as the ATMIA present the results of a global study highlighting the importance of cash and ATMs in reaching two billion financially excluded persons who have no bank account, including case studies in Kenya, the UK, Brazil and the Philippines.

The paper, researched and written by Paris-based Agis Consulting, defines the abiding role of cash in an electronic age, especially for more disadvantaged people.

The study’s author, Guillaume Lepecq, believes that a transition away from cash would only serve to isolate the unbanked and the underserved from the rest of the population.

“As cash is the only form of payment devoid of any prerequisite conditions for access, efforts to liberate people from financial exclusion should, instead, encourage its use,” the paper states.

Mike Lee, CEO of ATMIA, points out that people trust cash as a store of value and it remains a means of payment that can be used by absolutely anyone at any time.

“This is the best paper I’ve seen on the truth about financial inclusion in the midst of reams of fake news generated in recent years by the anti-cash lobby,” he says. “It argues persuasively, in a fact-based approach, that removing cash from campaigns to include the unbanked in financial services would represent a gargantuan governmental folly, creating unbridgeable social and class divides in future.”

Comments: (2)

John BaRoss
John BaRoss - FINCCLUDE Incorporated - Long Valley | 27 April, 2017, 13:56

ATMIA has an important perspective about cash still having a important role - now and in the future.  Just as financial inclusion is about more than just the banking industry, financial inclusion is about more than DFS.  Keep in mind not only cash's no-prerequisite conditions advantage (certainly a challange for KYC related issues), but if anything, cyber-security concerns are growing, plus other 'things' happen (from this week's total outage of M-Pesa in Kenya to the February 2016 Ugandan Communications Commission decision to abruptly order the disabling of all mobile money platforms for ~4 days).  Those with cash were not nearly as impacted as those more reliant on DFS in these examples. At least for the foreseeable future, let's be honest with what the true meaning of financial inclusion is. (Even those who have never seen cash of any form have at least been involved in a form of financial inclusion that is bartering).   

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Jan-Olof Brunila
Jan-Olof Brunila - Swedbank - Stockholm | 05 May, 2017, 09:49

The unbanked are not neccessarily left out of "electronic payments". In Sweden, where +85% of all retailer sales are paid for by cards, municipality well-fare offices provide globally accepted prepaid cards to welfare recipients who do not have or know their bank service. The office of Immigration also provides these prepaid cards to newly arrived asylum seekers without bank services. Future periodic payments to well-fre takers are then made as top-ups by the authorities. Many merchants in Sweden restrict cash payment amounts due to cost and risk issues for them and a growing number of merchants accept card payments but not cash.

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