- 23.02.2021 06:30 pm
- 15.02.2021 06:15 pm
- 25.01.2021 08:00 am
- 22.01.2021 09:45 am
- 21.01.2021 05:15 pm
The first few days of 2021 have confirmed what I’ve long suspected; consumers are demanding greater flexibility, accessibility and control over their finances than is offered by banks and the current global financial model. Since the turn of the year, Bitcoin has hit two record highs whilst gold has also enjoyed a boost, albeit one that is more restrained. I’m in no doubt this is driven in part by increased consumer appetite for alternatives to traditional currencies.
Whilst some have predicted that 2021 could see the death of cash as traditional currencies become increasingly digitalised, due to a range of factors from consumer demand to the Covid-19 pandemic; I believe we’ll see the birth of viable, alternative global currencies to challenge the USD and Sterling.
Unlocking access to an alternative to fiat currencies was my goal when I launched Glint. When Northern Rock stumbled in 2007 and was finally nationalised in 2008, I saw panicked consumers desperately trying to recover their savings and I realised for the first time that our finances were not secure in banks. Since then, the situation hasn’t improved. Major global currencies continue to weaken; Citi recently forecast that the USD will lose 20% of its value this year; interest rates have hit historic lows; and Quantitative Easing and its economic impact have become normalised.
Most consumers have always assumed that the safest place to store their finances is in a bank. However, many savings accounts offer just 0.01% interest, while even the most generous easy-access accounts are typically under 0.5%. Plus, the spectre of negative interest rates continues to loom. This hardly acts as a reward for saving your hard-earned cash and when inflation outstrips interest rates, consumers will find they’re actually worse off than if they spent that money today. In order to just maintain today’s purchasing power, consumers are forced to invest and put their finances at risk. For most, there has been little option if they wish to protect their finances and purchasing power. No wonder consumers are fed up and looking elsewhere.
All of these factors have made consumers understandably sceptical about central banks. This scepticism has, in turn, led to the emergence of alternatives. Cryptocurrencies have surged in popularity to the extent that central banks are developing their own digital currencies (CBDCs) in an effort to solidify their position in the e-money market. However, this won’t do anything to reverse the ever-growing suspicion consumers have of government interference. This is why they’re looking elsewhere for ways to spend and save their finances.
Of course, cryptocurrencies aren’t immune to human intervention, they are ‘mined’ after all and, although they are positioned as finite, who’s to say that more can’t be made? On the other hand, gold is natural and by definition limited in its supply. This protects its value and is one of the major factors why it has traditionally been viewed as a safe haven.
Consumers now have more options than ever before if they want to operate outside the banking system. At Glint, we’ve worked incredibly hard to provide our clients with all the tools they need to use our platform as a viable alternative, offering the opportunity to spend and save in gold as well as other currencies, send gold via our P2P tool, Glint It!, and for businesses to store capital and use it to pay employee salaries.
Consumers have long deserved a better deal from financial institutions and now a whole generation of Fintechs are unlocking access to one. This year is set to be transformative one that will finally ensure that consumers can really take control of their finances.
Glint Pay Ltd. (glintpay.com) is a UK-based fintech company that uses gold as an alternative global currency to enable its clients instantly to buy, sell, save, spend and now, share their physical gold and other currencies, through the Glint Mastercard® and Glint App. Glint offers no credit facilities, it allows users to transfer, receive and save real gold, which is secured in Brink’s vaults in Switzerland. Glint has generated more than 105,700 app downloads, tens of thousands of registered users and more than GBP 100 million in transaction volumes.
The new Glint P2P offer, Glintit!, allows customers to instantly send or receive money, including real, spendable gold and other currencies between Glint account holders. This facility is available as part of the Glint app which can be downloaded to smartphones from Apple’s App Store and Google Play. Glint is based in London, Boulder (US) and Tokyo.
Glint is authorised and regulated by the UK’s Financial Conduct Authority which has given permission for Glint to issue electronic money (e-money) and provide payment services (FRN 900657).
Gold is not regulated by the FCA. However, Glint’s clients know their gold is secured in a Brinks Vault in Switzerland. Brinks is insured by Lloyds of London and their policy covers the replacement value of Glint client’s Gold as held in their vault.
The Glint card is issued by Glint Pay Services Ltd pursuant to licence by Mastercard International Inc.
Get FinTech news headlines, videos, stories and product reviews on your mobile device. Download Financial IT App for Free