London it seems is under the grip of an ad blitz from the Maestro debit card, which we’re told, is The New Cash ™.
I think this campaign is advertising something that few of us really care about, why? Because we nearly all have a cash card able to make debit transactions. It’s like advertising the oxygen in the atmosphere. It’s one of those ubiquitous products that you don’t really choose, they just come with your bank account. Was it Bill Hicks or Jack Dee who the sketch – Customer:’I'll have a Coke’. Barman:’We’ve only got Pepsi’. Customer:’Whatever’.
I, like most people I imagine, carry around £10 to £20 in cash for small purchases – sandwiches, drinks, gum, etc. And buy everything else – shopping, clothes, books, magazines, tavel card – on a card. It’s this under £20 section of the market, the realm of small change, that the ads are targetting with the promise of a trip to Paris.
‘R.I.50P’. Not a chance. Not until paying with a debit/credit card is as easy as a ‘touch here’ Oyster card. The promise of that particular technological marvel crops up from time to time, before the tech hits the skids and it all goes away for another year or so.
Micro payments are something that the banks are keen to do as ‘It is estimated that using cash costs UK banks and retailers up to £4bn a year, so replacing it has the potential to be cheaper and quicker for all concerned.‘ – Yay, cheaper for the banks who made a total of £40bn profit this year. That’s belt tightening.
But post ‘God that’s stupid’, I got to thinking about all those occasions when cash, and more particularly coins, are actually useful. We’ve a strong social history around money, it peforms a lot social functions besides just paying for goods. So here’s my take on the Maestro Adverts… if you can think of any more, add them in the comment section.