Can Blockchain reduce the ‘card tax’ on business – new radio show podcast

Photo of Barry James

Barry James

The author and “instigateur” Barry James is a recognised authority in crowdfunding, blockchain and FinTech. I’ve worked with Barry, business partner Kay and team on a recent report. And Barry was my guest on Sheffield Live’s latest Business Live radio programme, broadcast last Friday.

Barry is angry. Angry about what he describes as an unjustifiable charge levied on small businesses to process debit and credit card payments.

In his interview, Barry discussed how micro-businesses and small SMEs are set to power growth in jobs and the economy and explains how crowdfunding offers them benefits beyond cash: market validation, proof of concept, the ability to secure other forms of finance.

Barry covered his new initiative, NowPay, launching a decade on from the global financial crisis “when the banks crashed the economy…how could they do this, how could we allow this to happen – and they haven’t even said sorry,” he says. They “systematically suck money” from small businesses, Barry believes, but says the blockchain community are “building new systems that don’t need banks.”

The NowPay initiative has been launched to reduce what Barry describes as a “card tax.” Banks charge sellers a percentage on each credit card transaction which they justify on the basis of the risk of a default or chargeback. Until recently similar transactions on debit rather than credit cards had been charged at a flat rate. That has quietly changed and “no one seems to have noticed,” adds Barry, “despite the fact that it can make a huge difference to a plumber, joiner restaurant or other independent businesses.”

Listen to the podcast (below) to hear his plans to launch NowPay to reduce transaction costs. Plus some key takeaways from Barry’s book, New Routes to Funding, and Barry’s anger about the RBS GRG (Global Restructuring Group).

Also covered in the programme: The British Business Bank; The FCA’s Financial Lives Survey; and more.



  • 0 – 5:13 introduction and updates, including a recap of last week’s programme which covered mental health and wellbeing; British Business Bank’s relocation to Sheffield; growth expectation for Sheffield’s Richtone Music with new finance;
  • 5:13 – 30:09 Barry James on NowPay;
  • 30:09 – 35:14 updates including an event featuring the social enterprise, Problem Gambling Support and Education; The FCA’s new Financial Lives Survey; Civitas’ new Blueprint for a new capitalism;
  • 35:14 – 51:21 Barry James with some crucial crowdfunding advice;

What next?

More about my Business Live radio show. Meanwhile if you like reading useful, practical advice – that’s also entertaining, then you’re welcome to join my free newsletter email list (if you’re not already signed up). Just pop your details in below.

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