Thursday, November 06, 2008

Anonymous bank accounts - why not?

In today's society it is hard to imagine not having some of the bureacracy that has grown up in recent years. One area we could change however is bank accounts. Currently whenever I want to set up an account in Britain I have to provide extensive personal information as the operative transfers my life's history onto the bank's database. However with things like pre-paid phones and debit cards, I can't see why we don't have anonymous bank accounts.

Here is how it would work. You go to a bank with, for example, £100 and ask to set up a basic account. You are given a pin number/card and security password so only you can access your money. Simple.

Obviously the problem here is money laundering/benefit fraud/child support evasion and so on, however I'm sure with a suitably low limit to the amount you can have in the account and considering that most government means-testing is based on income, not the total money you have, it really should be possible. Indeed effectively with store money vouchers and mobile phone top-up this is exactly what we do already have, only without any interest. There seems to me no reason why the scheme couldn't be extended.

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