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RBR Self-Service Banking Europe 2019: The UK won’t follow Sweden and go cashless, yet.


      Stephen Craven, Business Development Manager, shares insights from RBR SSBE 19 event.



      Stephen Craven, Business Development Manager, shares insights from RBR SSBE 19 event.


Despite a forecast drop in cash usage across the UK over the next 10 years, we discovered that the Chair of the Access to Cash Review strongly believes the UK will not follow the example set by Sweden and go cashless. This was revealed during an engaging and informative talk at the RBR Self-Service Banking Europe 2019 (SSBE) conference.

Mobias attended on the 21st and 22nd May and joined over 500 delegates from UK and international banks, fintechs and challengers, along with innovators, leading suppliers and industry experts. Held on the banks of the River Thames in London, the event provided a platform for networking and combined exhibitors with a back-to-back speaker programme of insights and case studies from banks and business leaders from across the globe.

This is the second time Mobias has exhibited and it was great to catch up with our clients, industry colleagues and lots of new faces brought together for a busy two days.

Key topics from day one included; self-service machine pooling, crime prevention, improved functionality and the constant upgrade dilemma; which sparked healthy debate!

The role of the ATM continues to be varied across banks and countries with certain regions storming ahead by deploying some interesting innovations. Already, biometric activation and verification is well used in Brazil and Russia. However, with the numerous technology options available and the complexity of integration with creaking legacy systems; is the expense and painful management of ATM networks resulting in banks declining to take advantage of innovation?

Day two began with the ‘cashless bombshell’! An excellent opening keynote from Natalie Ceeney CBE, Chair of The Access to Cash Review, presented the findings of their recent report highlighting how “the UK needs to guarantee access to cash just as it guarantees access to water”. Despite increasing card and mobile transactions in the UK, the report found approximately 17% of people felt cash is an economic necessity. Natalie went on to explain the growing risks of becoming a cash-less society. This concern was echoed by Martin Floden, Deputy Governor of Sveriges Riksbank. Sweden is now facing major challenges as a result of becoming virtually ‘cashless’ and he warned the UK not to drift towards a similar model.

The wide-range of case studies exploring the challenges different banks and countries are facing evidenced there’s no specific right or wrong way, each bank and their customers are evolving at varying speeds. However, the principles that underline change are broadly the same.

The ongoing shifts in society, regulation and the economy are changing the role of cash distribution, self-service technology and bank branches. Banks need to balance short term interventions with long term strategies, whilst ensuring their customers are at the absolute heart of all decision-making. What really stood out for us was the consistent talk of being agile in change to overcome such challenges.

We strongly agree that a lack of agility, and ability to respond to the changing needs of customers across the generations, will see some banks being left behind. It will be interesting to see how quickly and efficiently banks can develop strategies and partnerships that deliver the change their customers need and demand.

Didn’t get chance to see us at SSBE 2019? If you would like to discuss a challenge or project, please get in touch with me.