UK banks collaborate on access to cash

An agreement has been reached between banks in the UK to provide shared services to ensure continued access to cash.

New services will include shared banking hubs and ATMs which can be used by anybody, not just the customers of one particular bank or building society.

The move comes days after consumer organisation Which? called for an immediate pause on bank branch closures to protect access to cash.

It said that new analysis raises concerns that banks may be rushing to close branches before solutions to protecting access to cash can take effect.

“Which? called on banks to do more to protect access to cash, and pause their branch closure plans until solutions are in place, so it’s good to see proposals put forward that could make a real difference in securing the future of cash,” commented Anabel Hoult, Which? chief executive, responding to the news. “The banks will now need to demonstrate that these measures deliver what is needed, and we will be watching closely to see the extent to which they prevent communities from losing access to cash.

“The government still needs to swiftly introduce its long-promised legislation to underpin these measures and ensure that consumers will continue to be able to access cash for as long as it is needed.”

The bank partnership has been achieved through the Access to Cash Action Group (CAG).

LINK, the UK’s largest ATM network, will take up the new role as the Cash Action Group’s dedicated co-ordinating body and will independently review the impact of all changes to banking provision in communities. It will also commission new services.

The network has announced a number of initial services across communities in the UK, including:

Shared banking hubs in Acton (West London), Brixham (Devon), Carnoustie (Angus), Knaresborough (North Yorkshire) and Syston (Leicestershire) – building on the experience of the existing hubs piloted in Rochford, Essex and Cambuslang, Glasgow.

Free-to-use ATMs in Betchworth (Surrey), Bo’ness (West Lothian), Brentwood (Essex), Hugh Town (Isles of Scilly), Low Fell (Tyne and Wear), Merthyr Vale (Mid Glamorgan), Mosborough (South Yorkshire), Norwich (Norfolk), Putney (London), Woolhampton (Berkshire), and Woodbury (Devon).

The Post Office has also confirmed that it will include new dedicated cash services in up to 30 branches across the country.

“Our relationship with cash is changing but the UK is not ready to be a cashless society, and free access to cash remains vital for many consumers and communities,” said John Howells, chief executive, LINK. “LINK is therefore delighted to take on such a key role, working independently alongside the banks to ensure that the cash needs of communities continue to be met.”

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