People must be told at least 12 weeks in advance if they are to lose their local cash machine under new guidelines amid concerns so many are being lost because of Covid-19.
The financial watchdog has fired a warning shot against banks, which have removed thousands of cash points in the past few years, and said they must give customers three months’ notice before removing one. Lenders will also have to consider alternatives so communities can continue having access to cash, according to new proposals outlined by the Financial Conduct Authority.
This could include sharing hole-in-the-walls with other banks or providing mobile banking hubs or cash delivery services.
Laura Suter, of stock broker AJ Bell, said: “People still reliant on cash have faced ever-decreasing options as bank branches and cash machines have been shut in their droves in recent years. Some areas of the country have been left as a cash desert, with people having to drive miles in order to get cash out – not an option for the oldest or most vulnerable in society.”
In total more than 3,500 branches have closed over the past five years, a process which has been accelerated as banks look to cut down costs during the coronavirus crisis.
The Telegraph recently reported that one in eight banks and cash points had shut down during the pandemic due to staff shortages, social distancing and falling demand for cash. This is in spite of the fact that more than one in 10 adults are still reliant on physical money, according to research by the FCA.