Cash and the high-street bank in 2044


We all went a little mad about money in 2018. There was the rush to find the face of Mrs Tiggy-Winkle and turn 50p into £500, followed by a desperate hunt (somewhere in Wales, I think) for the £5 with Harry Kane’s face on it. As ploys to make us think about cash, they were good ones, even if it did expose us as a nation of idiots.

As economically driven creatures, our relationship with money will always be complex, but as a cashless future looks ever more likely, how will we still be able to put our money where our mouth is? (Warning: putting money in your mouth poses a choking hazard.)

So, what will money, and more specifically the transactions it allows us to make, look like in 2044?

By way of illustration, let us imagine a working morning scenario.

You’ve taken a taxi (electric and autonomous) to the gym, grabbed a coffee on the way, and afterwards, on the travelator to your workspace, watched an infomercial on your personal digital screen.

Already four transactions have taken place and you haven’t even put your hand in your pocket once. Four transactions? Surely just two? No, because while you were working out, you received two micropayments. One from the gym, as you agreed your data could be shared (social networks shot themselves in the foot on that one) and the other from the company whose advert, suggested by your digital assistant, you agreed to watch.

Are we really looking at the death of cash? And how does this impact on the nature of the high-street bank?

Let us start with some firm predictions.

  1. Cash will not be dead in 2044 but most transactions will be done without it
  2. Many transactions will happen without the need for any interaction. Paying via your phone used to be fun, but that practice died out in 2030. Iris-scanning technology and digital implants will grease the wheels of commerce in the future.
  3. The ATM will shift to your home or office. It will be in the form of a 3D printer, powered by a token you have purchased digitally that will print you cash when you need it.
  4. The high-street bank will disappear and be replaced with AR and VR technologies. Some banks will retain flagship stores, but think coffee shop with fintec rather than counter services.
  5. Financial advisors will be digital rather than human, in most instances. However, individual investments will still require the diligence and depth of knowledge of a human.

So, if the nature of our relationship with cash and our faithful high-street bank changes this much, what are the three key challenges for the marketer?

  1. Delivering customised products – it will be easy for consumers to source and shop around for products that suit their particular needs. Financial institutions will not survive if they offer only ‘off-the-shelf’ products.
  2. Looking for new methods to finance the finance – a more competitive market will no longer tolerate the banking fees of today. Expect third-party commercial relationships to be a part of this, similar to how many online businesses fund themselves.
  3. It’s all about the brand – service experience, largely delivered through digital channels, will be critical to customer retention. AR and VR will be the next battlegrounds for customer service.

As with all business sectors, banking – and in particular banking on the high street – is starting to go through the changes that will shape its future over the next 25 years. The cashless society will be with us eventually, and Mrs Tiggy-Winkle will be back in her rightful place on the shelf (or whatever the equivalent is).

One thing that won’t change… money will still make the world go round.

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