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Category: Banking


Wooden debit card

Forget your flash metal debit cards, eco-friendly search engine Ecosia has invested £1 million for a 20% stake in TreeCard, a wooden payment card that channels profits from merchant surcharges into reforestation programmes.  TreeCard comes with an app that lets users track spending, split bills with friends and monitor how many trees have been planted as a result of user […]


Mobile banking app review – junior edition

Mark O’Keefe’s (Founding director at Optima Consultancy and PSR Panel member) nine year old daughter has produced her own version of the Optima Consultancy banking app review, Amy’s review covers junior accounts. Which account does she think a child would say is best out of goHenry, Starling Bank, Revolut and RoosterMoney and why?  What advice does she have for Anne […]


Happy 50th Birthday!

On this day in 1958 the credit card industry was born – and who better than Dave Birch to help us celebrate! In an article published today by Forbes Dave writes: Today is a very important day for us payments nerds. It is the anniversary of the “Fresno Drop”, the birth of the modern credit card industry, a day that […]


The first banking disruptor?

In 1984 one UK bank was concerned about losing customers and made a decision that fundamentally changed how Britain’s banking landscape operated.  Midland Bank, then one of the UK’s big four banking groups (now HSBC), got rid of fees for cheques, statements and standing orders. In other words, it made banking free of charge – although it might be better […]


Current Account Switches begin to rise

The number of people switching bank accounts is starting to recover according to data just published by Pay.UK. 43,377 Current Account Switches occurred in August 2020 – a significant uplift when compared to the past three months, similar to April but still a far cry from the 111,327 switches that occurred in March. Read, subscribe and share


Paying a fair price for the banking services we receive

It wasn’t so long ago that using a bank account involved maintaining a minimum balance and included a whole suite of debit charges that might be levied. The extract below shows the fees that our parents and grandparents might have incurred when using their bank account in May 1981:  This extract from a Chartered Institute of Banking text book helpfully […]


Four ways to avoid Monzo’s new fees

Monzo have just announced that they are introducing new fees from the 31 October 2020: It’ll continue to be free to withdraw up to £250 of cash in the UK and European Economic Area (EEA) from your Monzo account every 30 days – after that there’ll be a fee of 3%. If your card expires, is stolen or if you’re […]


Personal banking service quality

Ipsos MORI have published results of an independent service quality survey of personal banking in Great Britain. The results are from an independent survey carried out between July 2019 and June 2020 by Ipsos MORI as part of a regulatory requirement, and the information is published at the request of the providers and the Competition and Markets Authority so you can compare […]


Banking in the age of the robot

This article first appeared in the Payments, Payments, Payments newsletter – read, subscribe and share: Banking in the age of the robot is the first in a series of trends papers which investigate social and economic contextual factors that are influencing millennials’ attitudes towards and engagement with the financial system.  The paper provides a snapshot analysis of how key trends […]


IBAN: The only bank account format you’ll ever need

What is an IBAN? … and why would I need one? Jonathan Williams, Director, Mk2 Consulting Standardisation is generally a good thing, at least that’s what ISO – the International Organisation for Standardisation – believes, and this applies to financial transactions more than most. The International Bank Account Number – pronounced “eye-ban” in the UK and US and “ee-ban” pretty […]


Northey Point’s Bookstore

Recommended reading: Add them to your reading list and let me know what you think. The Currency Cold War by David Birch The way that money works now is a blip. It’s a temporary institutional arrangement agreed in response to specific political, technological and economic circumstances. As these circumstances change, so money must change. Many people think that it will […]


Opening an account compares to putting pennies in a piggy bank: easy yet rewarding

Today, we feature a guest blog by university student Reuben Taylor sharing his experience on opening a bank account with Starling Bank. Reuben shares his experience: Generally, at some point in life (potentially multiple times) you will have to open or switch bank accounts. And with the current coronavirus pandemic placing restrictions on human interaction the move towards digital banking […]


Not being an ornithologist I pictured a small, weak insignificant bird perching on the branch of a small tree

There is much to thank the Midland Bank for launching ‘free in credit banking’ in the mid 1980’s but perhaps, an unintended consequence was, this act that led to all current accounts feeling the same. A range of utility current accounts from an ever decreasing number of providers offering the same vanilla banking. In early 1990 I made the most […]


Current Account Switch volumes impacted by COVID19

Pay.UK have just published the monthly Current Account Switch Service data for April 2020. The Current Account Switch Service (CASS) has completed 6.6 million switches since launching in 2013, 280,520 of which took place between January and March 2020. Despite the impact of COVID19, March saw the third highest number of Current Account Switches since the CASS service was launched […]


Switching winners

Today, 30 April 2020, saw the publication by Pay.UK of the Current Account Switch Service Dashboard covering the period 1 January to 31 March 2020. The Current Account Switch Service (CASS) has completed 6.6 million switches since launching in 2013, 280,520 of which took place between January and March 2020. With much talk of the rise of the challenger bank […]

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Making It Happen

‘A compelling account of Britain’s worst ever banking failure; as you read you will laugh, cry and fume’ Robert Peston I was in two minds as to whether I ought to read ‘Making It Happen’ but these events had a significant impact on my time leading the UK’s retail payments system – if you were in the industry during this […]