While no announcement was ever made about who the financial partner
was, TfL was known to have held discussions with both RBS and Barclays.
The story emphasises one point that often gets overlooked in
discussions of cash replacement – while banks and card associations
would dearly love to get cash out of the system, it doesn’t necessarily
benefit retailers to do so. Studies that have been carried out in
Belgium and the Netherlands show that for transactions of under
approximately €11, cash continues to be cheaper for society as a whole
than card systems unless you are talking about an existing e-purse
system such as Proton where most costs have already been written off.
That is existing in the sense that retailers are already using it,
rather than existing in the sense that it’s in use elsewhere but you
still have to install a whole load of terminals across a wide retailer
Yet, Octopus extended its tentacles successfully in Hong Kong. What’s so different here (other than democracy clearly)?