At first glance, not much has changed in payments in the UK over the past thirty years. Cash is still in widespread use with just under three billion pounds a year taken out of cash machines, helped by the proliferation of devices. Over the past decade the UK has seen another 20,000 ATMs arrive on street corners and in shops, taking the total to 67,500 last year.
We still have cheques and as a nation appear very resistant to losing them, as the Payments Council rather painfully discovered when it announced plans to phase them out.
The furore over the proposal to retire cheques highlighted two significant aspects of retail banking. First is the endowment effect, which is universal: as human beings we attach greater value to things we have rather than things we may have in the future.
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