Card Schemes fronting cash conferences

Posted on: 21/10/2011

We all know that International Card Schemes view cash as their enemy.

How do we know? Because they have made public pronouncements saying exactly that!

So, the battle lines are drawn.

On the one side, we have those who believe in choice. To achieve this we need a free market in terms of payment methods, with cash, cheques, cards and electronic payments all available to the UK public - that's you and me, by the way - to use as they wish.

0n the other side, we have the Card Schemes, seeking to dictate which payment method we use. Plastic is the beginning, middle and end of their vision. This is the Henry Ford school of choice: "You can have any colour so long as it is black!"

Of course, the Card Schemes have huge coffers to fund their quest to remove choice – and, boy, do they use them!

Almost every conference where payment methods could possibly hit the agenda is sponsored by one or other of the two International Card Schemes.

What that "buys" of course is prime time on the podiums, with organisers allowing the Card Schemes free rein to pump out their propaganda and, at the same time, restricting access to speaking slots for those with contrary views.

As a Director of the UK Payments Council and Chairman of the European Board of the ATM Industry Association, I have made it one of my major goals for 2012 to ensure cash is properly represented at all payment-related conferences.

Specifically, Card Schemes must not be allowed to buy control of agendas. What they get for their sponsorship money must be a simple "thank you", not a simpering acceptance of their right to dominate and direct the debate.

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