Can Plastic Notes Clean Up Cash’s Act?

Welcome to What’s Trending In Payments – a weekly look at the most popular, irreverent and important stories the payments industry had to offer over the past five days. Which companies grabbed the most headlines – for better or for worse – this week, and which topics have the industry abuzz with intrigue, laughter or disbelief? Featuring breakdowns from the staff and commentary by Karen Webster, here’s our take on what all of you payments peeps thought.

TOPIC ONE: Britain Tries To Clean Up Currency

Why It’s Hot

On Monday of this week, Chanel Smith penned this piece on the debate within the UK about migrating to plastic currency. While the various economic and commercial impacts of such a transition are quite interesting, one of the stranger arguments in favor of plastic over paper comes down to cleanliness.

As Smith’s piece states, paper banknotes are notorious for transmitting bacteria and germs from person to person. And just how dirty the paper note you’re touching is depends on some factors that might never occur to your average consumer.

“The probability of infection depends on various factors such as the weave used to create the cash, the length of time that the note has been in circulation and where the note has traveled,” Smith wrote.

So beware, Londoners: Next time you grab a banknote from your wallet, you’re not just touching money: you’re touching everyone that money has ever been with.

Karen’s Commentary

Seems like the best argument for cashless yet, if you ask me.

Top Tweet

@DavidCutterCo: Now we can all legally put our money through the laundry – with the introduction of plastic 5 and 10 pound notes!

It’s a whole new spin on money laundering – and yet another reason why plastic cash is cleaner.

TOPIC TWO: DOJ To Clear Air With Banks On Pot Policy

Why It’s Hot

This title by Pete Rizzo was so good I’ve decided to steal it and use it here. But perhaps I’ll be a bit more creative once the government determines whether U.S. banks can do business with marijuana dispensaries in states where they operate legally.

According to original source ABC News, banks have been hesitant to work with pot providers to this point, fearing legal repercussions from the U.S. government.

Talk about a sticky icky situation. Yes, I’ll keep the puns here at one.

Karen’s Commentary

Could this be the ignition strategy for Bitcoin?

Top Tweet

@canabisclubs: National: New U.S. Policy Won’t Ease Marijuana Dispensaries’ Banking Woes… 

You have no idea how hard it was to find a family-friendly tweet for this story. Moving on.

TOPIC THREE: Pin The Tail On Showrooming

Why It’s Hot

We’re plenty used to reading stories about the impact of showrooming or the lack of impact of social commerce. So one of the most interesting pieces of the past week has to be this piece on Pinterest and its supposed ability to combat the brick-and-mortar business’ worst nightmare.

Yes, “reverse showrooming,” as Vision Critical put it, happens when consumers pin an item on Pinterest, and then proceed to buy it in a store. And according to this study, that’s exactly what 21 percent of Pinterest users do.

I can hardly wait to start writing “pCommerce” in our headlines!

Karen’s Commentary

I bet that Pinterest’s investors might want to play Pin the Tail on Revenue at some point soon but that’s just me. Sure they have nearly 50M eyeballs every month but at some point, eyeballs have to turn into dollar signs.

Top Tweet

@alltwtr: INFOGRAPHIC: Twitter vs. Facebook vs. Pinterest in social commerce.

This tweet links to a great infographic comparing social commerce conversions between Twitter, Facebook and LinkedIn. According to that study, Pinterest actually ranks ahead of Twitter, 23 percent to 22 percent, while trailing Facebook at 28 percent. Nary a day goes by without more social commerce stats!


New PYMNTS Report: Preventing Financial Crimes Playbook – July 2020 

Call it the great tug-of-war. Fraudsters are teaming up to form elaborate rings that work in sync to launch account takeovers. Chris Tremont, EVP at Radius Bank, tells PYMNTS that financial institutions (FIs) can beat such highly organized fraudsters at their own game. In the July 2020 Preventing Financial Crimes Playbook, Tremont lays out how.

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