To coin a phrase I often heard walking the streets of London but not so often these days – “got any spare change?”. And why is that? There exists some of the worst poverty in the country in London so I’m sure the beggars have not gone away. Is it because most simply don’t carry cash or certainly not as much as we used to?

The reality to that question is, it’s likely that at lot of that change we carried in our pockets has now gone contactless. Carrying around our ‘money’ in the format of small plastic cards or applications on mobile devices using Apple Pay, GooglePay, Ping has gone mainstream.

But for some in London and many people across the world, the hard reality is contactless is not an attainable technology. The reality is to most people, even having a bank account is a pipe dream, a privilege to the few.

So what can we do to change this problem? If there is a demand, yes. So if there is the appetite then where is the service? There is just not enough money to be made from the poorest.

I’m not saying it’s possible to give everyone in the world the facility of Apple pay or whatever new fangled tech that the hip and trendy are using across the streets of a modern city or province. But the technology is here today to give everyone a chance of having a bank account to facilitate small transactions and to liberate people away from poverty and perhaps, pave the way to a better life.

Maybe that’s just all a pipe dream, a bit like me giving change to someone on the streets of London having no idea where that penny is going to go. It may make a difference and maybe it won’t and it could even be damaging.

Perhaps disruptive technologies will enable the poorest to have some of the most basic amenities that we take for granted and to bring tangible, meaningful and measurable benefits to be forgotten and disenfranchised as there are billions.

So the bottom line is, no I don’t have any change. I don’t really carry it anymore as there’s not the need most of the time. I’m one of the lucky ones – I have a bank account.

So is it time to make a big change? Not the change that we carry in our pockets but to make some global change. A penny for your thoughts, lest we forget.


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