NEW PLANS set out by the UK Government will help ensure that people and businesses are no more than three miles away from the ability to withdraw or deposit cash.
The financial services watchdog will be given the power to fine banks and building societies which fail to maintain standards on protecting access to cash.
A long-time campaigner for safeguards to guarantee access to the UK cash system, despite the growing use of other transaction methods, Dumfriesshire, Clydesdale and Tweeddale MP David Mundell welcomed the steps as a “positive move to protect the ability of people in rural areas to continue to have access to traditional cash.”
David Mundell said: “With the creeping withdrawal of banks and free cashpoints from smaller towns and more rural settings, I have long warned that we are sleepwalking towards a cashless society.
“It’s clear that many people value the ability to make cashless transactions and no doubt the convenience of digital payments will continue to see them expand in future. However, the fact is that most people still want the ability to also access cash and this is being made harder, and in some cases virtually impossible, as banks and cashpoints disappear from rural and more remote areas.
“It’s a trend that discriminates particularly against older people who are used to making cash transactions and small businesses needing to deposit cash takings.
“So I very much welcome this announcement which sets out the minimum expectations on banks to protect services for people and businesses wanting to withdraw or deposit cash. In practice, this should help ensure that the vast majority of people and businesses are no further than three miles away from withdrawing cash.
“This is a positive move to protect the ability of people in rural areas to continue to have access to traditional cash and I look forward to the Financial Conduct Authority making use of these new powers to help ensure the continuing provision of cash access services.”