Banking systems at risk under no-deal Brexit

The government has warned that in the event of a no-deal Brexit, consumers would face slower and more costly credit card payments when they buy European Union products, while British citizens living abroad could lose access to their bank accounts altogether.

The details come as part of 25 technical notices - the first of 80 due in the coming weeks - published in Westminster today, which explain how companies and the public should prepare for a deal or no-deal exit from the EU.

With UK banks likely to lose access to cross-border payments systems, the financial services paper warned that “customers (including business using these providers to process euro payments) could face increased costs and slower processing times for euro transactions”, adding that the cost of card payments between the UK and EU will likely increase.

Those living in the EU, but using UK banks, may lose the ability to access lending and deposit services, and insurance contracts, according to the paper.

Meanwhile, the free circulation of goods would cease in the event of a no-deal or ‘hard’ Brexit, with businesses needing to fill out customs declarations for goods entering the UK from the EU. The government suggested firms “engage the services of a customs broker, freight forwarder or logistics provider to help, or alternatively secure the appropriate software and authorisations”.

The technical notices also explained that Britain expects the EU to start imposing tariffs on UK goods in the event of no deal being reached by 29 March.

The recently-appointed Brexit secretary, Dominic Raab, said he was still “confident that a good deal is in our sights”.

He stated that after the passing of the EU Withdrawal Act there are 7,000 civil servants already working on Brexit, with funding in place to hire 9,000 more if they are needed. “Our laws will be on the statute book, the staff will be in place, and our institutions will be ready for Brexit, deal or no deal,” Raab added.

David Luck, chief executive at SME lending startup Capital On Tap, pointed out that a no deal Brexit would end the surcharging ban, so it's likely that the cost of card payments will increase.

“FinTechs have thrived largely because of their transparency and honesty with their customers, something banks have a reputation for being bad at. If banks continue to increase fees or hide other fees, I think FinTechs will be waiting with open arms to help those customers in an honest and transparent way," he suggested.

“FinTechs can use no deal Brexit as a moment to communicate very clearly and further endear themselves to their customers," Luck continued. "There is a future for any industry that offers customers what they want quickly and efficiently. If credit cards are the easiest way for customers to get credit and buy things, as they are today, they will be around for a lot longer.”

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