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Tech Lowdown: GOV.UK blunder, Cashplus and EY

This week’s roundup features GOV.UK missing a weblink that could have saved millions, Cashplus becoming the UK’s newest bank and EY launching a ‘proximity monitor’.

10th Feb 2021
Staff Writer AccountingWEB
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Missing GOV.UK weblink cost taxpayers £51m

Over the last five years, a missing website link to an online Biometric Residence Permit (BRP) form on GOV.UK has cost UK taxpayers an estimated £51m in unnecessary physical paperwork.

Privacy campaign group medConfidential estimates around £10m a year since 2015 has been wasted by the government’s report a change of circumstances BRP webpage, which only offers a paper submission option.

“While the Home Office generates a profit from fees for migrants, it is required to provide some services for free – such as making a change of registered home address when someone moves house,” medConfidential coordinator Phil Booth told The Register.

However, the page only offers a link to physical forms for those needing to update their BRP addresses. As a result, the Home Office has had to fork out for the physical paperwork of updates submitted during the last five years.

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UK bank license makes Cashplus newest UK challenger bank

Fifteen-year-old digital-only banking provider Cashplus has become the mUK’s newest neobank after obtaining a UK banking license.

The licence will allow Cashplus to lend some of its £500m deposits from its 1.6m customers. Cashplus aims to provide £1bn of credit to UK small businesses to support the UK’s post-Covid recovery.

The UK fintech operator’s banking license came rapidly in comparison to Revolut, which is still struggling to obtain a banking licence after flippant comments from founder Nikolay Storonsky’s about Revolut’s anti-money laundering systems.

Cashplus also joins Starling Bank in the minority of profitable European fintechs, generating £50m in 2020.

“When we started out 15 years ago, we got first-hand experience of the pain that small businesses face when dealing with big banks,” said Cashplus founder and CEO Rich Wagner. 

“While big banks are slamming the door shut, we’ll be welcoming customers, opening up lending and delivering enhanced products to support them through the challenging months ahead.”

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EY releases social distancing ‘proximity monitor’

In a bid to support sports fans and live event-goers, EY has released a wireless-enabled proximity monitor to help attendees maintain the correct social distances.

EY’s proximity solution monitors crowd distribution at events and highlights any contacts that may breach distancing restrictions.

The proximity monitor can worn on a lanyard, a wristband or downloaded as an app on a smartphone. When activated, the tag creates a Bluetooth bubble that monitors the user’s proximity to other attendees.

The tag is battery powered and sends and receives Bluetooth signals from neighbouring tags every few seconds. The app mirrors this pattern using the user’s smartphone tech.

Attendee proximity is measured constantly from a control room that labels each distance as low, medium or high risk.

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