There are growing fears related to Brexit and the pound sterling, fears that are focused on the impact Brexit would have on payment systems, especially since the UK is a major financial services powerhouse.
Not just pounds
For this reason, the number of retailers offering alternative currency payments to sterling is increasing. Analysing 250 of the largest retailers in the UK, an increase in those who accept international currencies as payment has been observed. The dollar and euro in first place.
The yen is also part of the group (+1%). The confirmation comes from a study by Visualsoft, a company that monitors and analyses e-commerce flows. The numbers speak for themselves. As mentioned, of the 250 retailers surveyed, 81% accept payments in international currencies, an increase of 62% compared to 2017.
New players in payment solutions
Apparently, it is not only the currency to be different but also the payment method and even the credit institutions used.
In the latter case, for example, we have seen an increase in the financial products offered by credit institutions such as Klarna, a name that until recently was virtually unknown to most people.
But it is still a small part. In fact, the vast majority still use credit and debit cards. Even the retailers themselves, which account for 23% of all respondents, do not offer alternatives to credit cards.
There is still some distrust
As Dale Higginbottom, Head of CRO at Visualsoft Ltd, pointed out, this is a major problem:
“The figures confirm the adoption of new payment methods in view of a number of uncertainties arising from Brexit. But, at the same time, we note that up to a quarter of consumers abandon cash transactions because the reseller does not provide the required payment method. Offering a wide range of options is an important way for retailers to maximize their sales potential, but far too many still do not”.
Finance in metamorphosis
If on the one hand we look with fear at March 29th, the deadline by which, unless there are sensational surprises, London will have to say goodbye to the EU, on the other hand, some think that Brexit could offer many opportunities for financial startups, especially those that focus on the so-called “RegTech“.
Finance is changing thanks to the arrival of new technologies, but also of new currencies such as crypto, new payment methods and also of new fundraising methods such as crowdfunding and ICOs. Hence the need to impose rules by government agencies for the control of capital flows. The aim is to strengthen anti-money laundering standards and prevent fraud.
Although Brexit has recently caused the suspension of a blockchain project, crypto could be a solution to the payment method problems caused by this upcoming division.
In fact, not only could it be useful to invest and prevent any collapse in the value of the pound, but also to accept payments in other international currencies in addition to the dollar and the euro, which are extra-territorial.
According to a YouGov research, one in five Englishmen thinks that bitcoin will become commonly used as cash or debit and credit cards, thus underlining how a good number of UK inhabitants already know and use crypto.
Of course, these are all conflicting predictions: it is not certain that the pound will collapse, it may even increase in value.
The RegTech boom
With the advent of the blockchain, there is also a need to regulate the contractual sector. These are complex problems that unfortunately companies have to deal with more and more frequently and in front of which they are often found unprepared.
Here companies (often startups) like RegTech come into play, analysing and offering technologies dedicated to companies with the aim of helping them to be in compliance with the various regulations in force, optimising their productivity.
Brexit and sterling: a special bond
A striking case linking Brexit and pound sterling occurred precisely during the night of the famous referendum, the same one that in its time, marked the farewell of London to the European Union.
Well, on that occasion, the Brexit effect did not frighten bitcoin, which began to rise: from the $625 recorded 24 hours earlier (we speak of June 22, 2016) reached a price of 680. Which can be described as anomalous behaviour given the volatility of the sector.
Even more so if one looked at the pound (which at the same time reached its lowest since 1985) and gold (a powerful rise because it is the ultimate refuge asset).