UK News Round-up: The Latest Stories 02/06

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Each week, The Fintech Times takes a look at the top stories in British fintech. In today’s roundup, the UK is expected to be cashless by 2024, Brits save £250 a year shopping in apps and Laybuy launches new female financial freedom campaign.

UK expects to be nearly cashless by 2024

The use of cash in the UK has significantly reduced, with the COVID-19 pandemic fueling a shift in consumer payment preferences, according to a new report recently released by FIS.

The 2021 Global Payments Report, by Worldpay from FIS projects that by 2024, cash will account for just 7 per cent of in-store purchases in the UK, down from 27 per cent of in-store payment transactions in 2019. The report found that cash usage for in-store purchases in the country declined from 27 per cent in 2019 to just 13 per cent of total purchases last year.

Pete Wickes, General Manager, EMEA, Worldpay from FIS said: “This research shows the speed and scale of the transformation in consumer behaviour in just 12 months. The decline in the use of cash in the UK has accelerated, and while this opens up new opportunities for businesses to optimize and drive efficiencies, we need to be mindful that important parts of the economy continue to rely on cash, such as charity donations and restaurant tip jars, while there are many in society who remain underbanked. Fintechs and regulators need to collaborate to build new frameworks that allow for this shift and use technology to boost financial inclusion especially for those underserved communities.”

Hampshire business is first to launch low carbon 5G

BASE Bordon Innovation Centre, managed by Oxford Innovation, has become one of the few shared office spaces in the UK with 5G capabilities, powered by carbon-friendly energy storage technology.

The new 5G network, part-funded by Enterprise M3 Local Enterprise Partnership and the University of Surrey, will be powered by technology invented by one of the tenants, powerQuad. Each powerQuad charges at times when carbon and fuel prices are at their lowest and therefore makes it a much greener, and a cheaper power source.

BASE Bordon’s Manager, Duncan Gill, said: “The benefits to the creative and digital businesses in our Centre are going to be huge. They will be able to work faster and smarter – as well as having massive bandwidth to test new technologies and download huge amounts of data.”

Ignition launches digital advice solutions into the UK market

Ignition, the global provider of advice technology, has launched into the UK market offering digital advice solutions to enable its financial services clients to help people make better financial decisions. The Ignition engine is a white-label, multi-currency, bank-grade digital financial advice platform that is compatible with the current legacy and migrating technology environments of large financial institutions.

Ignition delivers fully compliant, digital advice journeys across investments and wealth, pensions, and insurance. The technology has been developed to facilitate hybrid, adviser-led and direct to customer advice journeys, marking an evolution in the UK advice market. Ignition clients include both global players in the financial sector as well as domestic and midmarket enterprises.

Terry Donohoe, CEO Europe, Ignition, said: “We are confident that there’s a real demand in the UK financial services market for true digital advice. We’re bringing the Ignition technology platform to the UK in order to support financial institutions in helping their customers to make better financial decisions through secure, compliant digital advice solutions.”

Savvy Brits save over £250 a year by shopping in apps

Research from Barclays Digital Eagles reveals Brits are reaping the benefits of apps and doing things online. Brits who use retail apps are saving an average of £21.45 every month, with one in five downloading more shopping apps than pre-lockdown, to ensure they make the most of discounts available. What’s more, over a third (35 per cent) say using apps helps them get things done more quickly – with food shopping taking an average of 53 minutes in person, compared to only 37 minutes online.

However, despite technology playing more of a part in most people’s day-to-day lives, some Brits are missing out on the potential benefits. In fact, almost half of people (48 per cent) admit they don’t know how to use some of the apps on their devices and a quarter (25 per cent) say they only regularly use a handful of the apps they have downloaded.

Ross Martin, Head of Learning at the Barclays Digital Eagles, says: “We know there are people who don’t feel as confident with technology and this means that they may be missing out on some of the potential benefits – such as cost or time savings. It’s all about personal choice, but our research showed that 44 per cent of Brits would consider using their phone or computer more if someone showed them how to.”

UK reaches a critical mass of homegrown AI companies

Tech Nation, has released new data that reveals the huge growth achieved in the UK’s AI sector over the past ten years. The UK is now home to over 1,300 AI companies, up from only 180 companies in 2011, representing a 600% increase. AI companies are scaling across all regions of the UK, with 50% of the UK’s top 10 scaling AI companies outside of London.

Data And Artificial Intelligence With Dr. Inma Martinez by Richie Santosdiaz for The FinTech Times

Data And Artificial Intelligence With Dr. Inma Martinez by Richie Santosdiaz for The FinTech Times

Not only are the UK’s scaling AI companies driving growth across the UK economy, with prevalence in fintech (10%), cyber (5%) and healthtech (4.5%), the AI sector is also an important engine of growth, with a collective valuation of $46.3billion, turnover of almost $2billion, and employing almost 30,000 people across all regions of the UK. Furthermore, VC investment into UK AI companies has rocketed from $120mn in 2010 to $3.4billion in 2020.

Gerard Grech, Chief Executive of Tech Nation, commented: The UK is a central hub for transformative AI technologies, and the staggering growth we are seeing in the sector is encouraging and exciting. Last year alone, UK AI saw a 17% increase in VC investment, more than any other country. At this pivotal time, we must work to support and accelerate these businesses as they continue to shape our future; from transforming financial processes to tackling climate change and revolutionising modern healthcare.”

Laybuy champions female financial freedom by launching new campaign

To encourage females to talk more openly about their financial concerns, Laybuy is launching Master Your Money in partnership with TV and radio presenter Laura Whitmore and consumer finance expert Ellie Austin-Williams.

Master Your Money aims to combat some of the barriers females under 40 say are stopping them from taking control for their finances – including stress (29%), a lack of understanding (25%), feeling overwhelmed (24%), and not knowing where to start (20%).

Whitmore says that one of the most important lessons she ever learnt about money is never to be embarrassed to talk about it – it’ll just cause further heartbreak.

“That’s why I was keen to get involved in this campaign – I hope that through opening up this conversation we’ll remove the stigma and encourage women to talk more freely about their financial concerns, and in doing so become better equipped for their financial future,” said Whitmore.

Rohloff says the research shows that too many women have financial concerns but are not sure what to do. “We wanted to do something to help – that’s why we’ve teamed up with Laura and Ellie to launch Master Your Money. With this campaign, we aim to empower women to get back in control of their finances through being more open about their financial concerns, doing regular financial health checks, and addressing any issues head-on.”

  • Polly is a journalist, content creator and general opinion holder from North Wales. She has written for a number of publications, usually hovering around the topics of fintech, tech, lifestyle and body positivity.

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