This lady is crusading towards the cashless society – so, may she grow to be the saviour of money?

Natalie Ceeney is the author of the recent 'Access To Cash Review' report which highlighted the dangers of the country's relentless march towards a cashless society

Natalie Ceeney is the creator of the latest ‘Entry To Money Assessment’ report which highlighted the hazards of the nation’s relentless march in the direction of a cashless society

Entry to money is dwindling. Horrible reality primary. 

Simply as worrying, acceptance of money is shrinking as extra companies – pubs, espresso retailers and theatres – put up indicators stating: ‘No kilos and cash, contactless fee solely.’ Nasty reality quantity two.

Certainly, if specialists are proper with their forecasts, money might be all however lifeless in ten years’ time as we’re bullied and prodded with cattle sticks into embracing a cashless society – the place debit playing cards and contactless fee rule the banking waves.

That is inflicting worry, large worry, for swathes of individuals each younger and outdated and for communities – rural and concrete – up and down the size of this magnificent nation of ours. Individuals excommunicated from the courageous new digital world by advantage of age, incapacity, private alternative, monetary circumstance or the truth that their broadband or cell reception is borderline ineffective – thereby necessitating the usage of money.

Fortunately, there are some battling people and consumer-friendly organisations – The Mail on Sunday included – decided to maintain waving the flag for money regardless of the money-grabbing banks and fee firms. Even when this appears an uphill battle – Custer’s Final Stand with out the blood.

Final week, whereas newly streamlined and coiffured Boris Johnson was launching his marketing campaign to grow to be chief of the Conservative Get together, 200 people congregated inside a lion’s roar of Regent’s Park in London to chew the money cud – and talk about whether or not it has a future.

Largely bedraggled on account of incessant rain, they minimize a slightly sorry lot as they trudged into the fashionable places of work of client group Which? (price 1,000,000 or six to an oligarch in search of an unlimited dwelling) to listen to the nice and never so nice put their views ahead on the outlook for money.

It’s all a part of a robust Which? ‘Securing Our Freedom To Pay’ marketing campaign (#freedom2pay in social media language) aimed toward defending shoppers’ entry to free money. This could occur whether or not it’s by means of a significant community of free-to-use ATMs and financial institution branches (each being felled at a sooner charge than timber in rainforests) or higher provision of cashback amenities at native retailers.

If experts are right with their forecasts, cash could be all but dead in ten years' time

If experts are right with their forecasts, cash could be all but dead in ten years' time

If specialists are proper with their forecasts, money might be all however lifeless in ten years’ time

Oh, how the founders of Which? – working out of a storage in London’s Bethnal Inexperienced 62 years in the past – would have marvelled on the method the patron group has moved on from testing kettles to difficult the giants of the banking world.

An eclectic mixture of bankers, teachers, consumerists, small enterprise representatives and fee suppliers comprised the viewers. All ears and notepads and fortified by copious quantities of espresso (I dripped rain as if I have been a fisherman caught in an Atlantic storm).

Sadly, keynote speaker John Glen (Treasury Minister) was pressured to duck out on the final minute. However into Glen’s footwear stepped Treasury official Gwyneth Nurse, director of monetary providers, who appeared to get pleasure from her second within the highlight with out saying something of substance.

Our manifest to make banks pay attention 

The Mail on Sunday has drawn up a ‘Maintain Our Money Manifesto’ to drive banks and monetary authorities to sort out the disaster. Our key calls for are:

  • Each city ought to have at the least one financial institution.
  • Each city ought to have a free money machine.
  • Each city ought to have a put up workplace.
  • For smaller communities with no financial institution, put up workplace or free money machine, ‘cashback’ should be provided without spending a dime at native retailers and pubs.
  • One regulator should take cost, making certain there may be entry to free money for everybody, and Natalie Ceeney should play a task.

Among the many others who did flip up was Anabel Hoult, Which? chief govt, oozing worthiness. Additionally Chris Hemsley, a considerably nervous boss of the Cost Techniques Regulator that has stood nonetheless and watched an alarming shrinkage within the variety of free-to-use ATMs in latest months on account of a discount within the charges that the banks are ready to pay money machine operators.

They have been joined by Martin McTague, a spokesman for the Federation of Small Companies, an organisation whose members are more and more being stung by the banks with excessive costs for banking money.

Additionally up on stage was Mark Barnett, UK ‘president’ of funds big Mastercard, who believes money is the Antichrist; Which? director of content material Jenni Allen (it was their present in spite of everything); and John Hutton, director of funds at Nationwide Constructing Society.

The constructing society director was launched by facilitator Joel Hills (ITV Information) as a consultant of Nationwide Financial institution, which solely served to spotlight the truth that the banks have been absent from the stage. 

For the report, representatives from Barclays, HSBC, Royal Financial institution of Scotland, TSB (oh expensive) and UK Finance (the banking trade’s mouthpiece) have been all noticed within the viewers though none of them requested questions on the finish. Extra spies than contributors.

But the star of the ‘money summit’ by a rustic mile was Natalie Ceeney, creator of the latest ‘Entry To Money Assessment’ report which highlighted the hazards of the nation’s relentless march in the direction of a cashless society.

Warning: The MoS is campaigning to keep notes and coins available on Britain¿s high streets

Warning: The MoS is campaigning to keep notes and coins available on Britain¿s high streets

Warning: The MoS is campaigning to maintain notes and cash out there on Britain’s excessive streets

Carrying killer heels and spectacles that Miranda Priestly would have been proud to sport in The Satan Wears Prada, this former head of the Monetary Ombudsman Service reiterated her fervent perception that everybody ought to have assured entry to money sooner or later.

Except motion is taken quickly, she mentioned the nation is in peril of ‘sleepwalking right into a cashless society’. A decade in the past, she mentioned six out of ten funds have been made by money. Now the quantity had fallen to beneath three and he or she predicted that money might be gone in 9 years’ time.

After the occasion, I tracked down this pocket dynamo of a person who has put money again on the political and regulatory map.

Her authentic Entry To Money Assessment report prompted constructive responses from Authorities, the Financial institution of England and banking representatives, ensuing within the formation of the Joint Authorities Money Technique Group. The group’s process is to make sure shoppers have a alternative in how they pay for items and providers – in different phrases, entry to money.

Your message is obvious: Maintain notes and cash 

Lots of of readers have responded to our highly effective marketing campaign to maintain money on the excessive avenue, reviews Toby Walne…

Philip Burgess lives within the small market city of Ramsbottom in Lancashire. On Thursday, the final financial institution on the town – Santander – will shut its doorways for the ultimate time. The 58-year-old retired accountant says: ‘Ours is a thriving group with a lot of guests coming to benefit from the retailers and surroundings of the Pennine Approach. After I moved right here 30 years in the past there have been 4 banks – now the closest department will likely be 5 miles away in Bury.’

He provides: ‘The aged and susceptible, particularly these with out vehicles, are being deserted and it’s a enormous inconvenience to those that desire face-to-face banking and want entry to money. The one ones that profit are the banks that save themselves cash.’

Philip Burgess lives in the small market town of Ramsbottom in Lancashire. On Thursday, the last bank in town - Santander - will close its doors for the final time

Philip Burgess lives in the small market town of Ramsbottom in Lancashire. On Thursday, the last bank in town - Santander - will close its doors for the final time

Philip Burgess lives within the small market city of Ramsbottom in Lancashire. On Thursday, the final financial institution on the town – Santander – will shut its doorways for the ultimate time

Entry to money is now out there solely by way of a small put up workplace counter contained in the native Morrisons grocery store – and a free money machine. Barbara Cashell, from Tonyrefail within the Rhondda Valley, South Wales, is struggling to get her palms on money after its put up workplace closed two years in the past. This adopted the axeing of Barclays and Lloyds branches.

The 71-year-old says: ‘New homes are being constructed right here to draw extra residents, however the native monetary infrastructure has been ripped out. The vanity and lack of concern proven by the banks is appalling.’

She provides: ‘Happily, we nonetheless have three money machines, however one is at all times damaged, one other costs £1 and the one free one is in an area Spar retailer on the prime of a steep hill.’

The Mail on Sunday has drawn up a Maintain Our Money Manifesto, which we consider would be certain that notes and cash stay broadly out there.

Ceeney genuinely believes progress is being made to cease money changing into an endangered species. Certainly, she is enthused (greater than me) by commerce group UK Finance’s announcement – made on the identical day because the money summit – that it’s exploring methods through which the banking trade ‘can work with native authorities to determine and report gaps in money provision’. 

It can replace the world on its work by the tip of September. Ceeney says this might type the framework for a so-called ‘common service obligation’. 

This could guarantee all communities of a sure inhabitants dimension (for instance 1,000 plus) have free (and simply out there) entry to money. This might be by means of a 24-hour, seven days per week ATM, an area put up workplace, cashback in an area retailer or new methods of delivering money.

Ideally, she says, this ‘obligation’ can be enshrined in regulation with communities capable of ‘enchantment’ towards entry to money that they felt was not ‘appropriate’ – for instance, an ATM situated on the prime of a giant hill, making it troublesome for some aged folks to make use of. As for ATMs, she desires a extra even nationwide distribution, even when it means a discount within the numbers situated in busy Metropolis centres.

As I left the so-called ‘money summit’ and ready for one more drenching, I obtained an electronic mail from one of many delegates.

‘Nice to listen to everybody agreeing that money wants defending,’ they mentioned. ‘However as a client, I am unsure who’s going to repair this for me. There are too many regulators taking care of completely different bits of the money system however nobody in control of the entire.’

They added: ‘We’d like somebody in cost, a Money Tsar, whose temporary is to make sure entry to money is protected. They need to then report back to the Financial institution of England, given the significance of money to the steadiness of the nation’s monetary system.’

Guess who they advised for such a task? No, not Mr Hemsley or Mr Barnett. Step ahead Natalie Ceeney. Together with her zest and dedication, money has an opportunity of surviving. With out her enter, the banks will roll throughout us and strip the kilos from our wallets, similar to they axed our branches. Mark my phrases…  

Are you chop off from money? E mail: jeff.prestridge@mailonsunday.co.uk