Financial Inclusion Should Be High on the Conservatives’ Agenda
Prepaid card industry expert Helen Child believes the re-elected Conservative government should drive change to ensure basic affordable financial services are available to all.
Currently, millions of adults across Britain are financially excluded. According to the Financial Inclusion Commission, nearly two million people across the UK do not have a bank account, up to 8.8 million are over-indebted and 1 in 4 have a poor credit rating.
Prior to losing his seat in the House of Commons, Vince Cable emphasised the need for banks to continue serving their local community, suggesting that Post Offices must once again become the heart of the community by extending their banking services for people who rely on face-to-face banking.
Newly appointed Secretary of State for Business Sajid Javid has already set about changing business law, but will this include financial inclusion?
Helen explains: “All UK households should have access to a full range of financial services, including secure, safe and regulated banking. Some members of our society have no access to banking institutions, a basic bank account or the facilities to adopt online banking.
“The UK banking sector has a responsibility to provide some form of basic bank account to every individual, whatever their situation and is vital to easing poverty. A financially inclusive UK and promotion of wider trust in the banking sector should therefore be key objectives for the
Prepaid programmes such as APS CashPlus and The Change Account can offer an alternative solution to traditional banking. The Change Account provides a transactional account for those that don’t have the ability to open a traditional bank account. Its budgeting tools and lack of an overdraft facility can help protect people from entering into debt.
Since 2007, there has been a 380% rise in the selection of prepaid card products with 2% of prepaid cards being used in the UK as an alternative to bank accounts.
Helen comments: “Prepaid cards such as the APS CashPlus program in effect offer a complete ‘quasi-banking’ solution without the risk of overspending and creating debt. They can also provide a useful credit repair solution and assist those who are underserved, on the basis that there are no credit checks.”
About Helen Child
Helen Child is the founder and former CEO of the UK’s first E Money License Issuer to be awarded Prepaid Issuing status by both MasterCard & Visa. Helen is the leading consultant at Striding Edge and heads an experienced team of prepaid card and payments experts. Through her Striding Edge consultancy, Helen provides strategic and practical support to banks and organisations that are seeking to develop or increase their footprint in the European market.
She is a published author and industry speaker. A founding member of the Prepaid International Forum; the global, not for profit prepaid card industry forum. She’s proudly served as a Council Member of Lancaster University.