Bank branches are closing ‘because no one uses them’ and end of cash is ‘inevitable’, AI expert claims

Bank branches are closing ‘because no one uses them’ and end of cash is ‘inevitable’, AI expert claims

GB News panelist claims the end of cash is 'inevitable'

Jessica Sheldon

By Jessica Sheldon

Published: 27/02/2024

- 12:25

GB News panellists discussed bank branch closures and the use of cash this morning

Bank branches are closing because “people aren’t using them” as they don’t want to “fumble” with cash, an entrepreneur has claimed.

Appearing on GB News this morning, Piers Linney, co-founder of Implement AI and former Dragon on Dragons’ Den, said money is “going to become technology, eventually”.

He said: “I think the reason, you have to understand, is that banks are closing is because nobody's using them.

“My mum, she's in her eighties, she doesn't want to be fumbling with cash.”

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AI entrepreneur Piers Linney and NatWest bank branch closure sign

AI entrepreneur Piers Linney said banks won't keep branches open if it's 'not working for the consumer'


He added: “If it’s not working for us, the consumer, then banks aren't going to keep these sort of local branches open.”

Mr Linney said we are living in an age where technology “is something which improves our lives”, adding: “You want frictionless payments, fintech innovation, the ability to use technology in terms of how you use money - because money is going to become technology eventually - to make your lives easier and innovate to help boost and help our economy to thrive.”

Consumer money specialist Maddy Alexander-Grout said she thought Mr Linney’s points were valid, but argued it was important there is the option of using cash as well, to ensure financial inclusion, as some people can’t use card.

Mr Linney acknowledged financial inclusion concerns, stating: “There is an issue with the unbanked but we can’t ignore that, you have to innovate.”

The tech entrepreneur said: “We’re going to be living in a world – I spend my days working in artificial intelligence - where you won’t have wallets or phones, it’ll be biometrics. It’ll be your face. You’ll be able to walk in, it’ll recognise who you are and it’ll understand how much money you’ve got, and you can make payments.”

Mr Linney went on to highlight the cost of cash. He said: “Cash costs the Exchequer, let’s face it, hundreds of millions pounds every year just to manage the stuff. I think it is inevitable that cash is going away. We have to prepare ourselves for that.”

Ms Alexander-Grout argued for the protection of cash, explaining it’s vital for financial inclusion.

She said: “People who are neuro-divergent, people who have got ADHD, they struggle with spending a lot. I know, I am a neuro-divergent myself.”

She went on to recall attending a festival last year when the card machines went down, sparking chaos for people trying to purchase food and drinks.

Barclays today forecast a “greater shift” towards mobile wallets, as new data showed a rise in the use of contactless rather than other card transactions.

A record 93.4 per cent of in-store card transactions up to £100 were made using contactless last year, according to data from the bank's debit card and credit card customers.

For the third year in a row, the over 65s were the fastest-growing group for contactless usage, and the proportion of active users among 85 to 95-year-olds passed 80 per cent for the first time, they said.

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