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People reliant on cash risk being cut adrift, Which? says_freckle removal wollongong

2022-07-06 04:30:51 Form:Technology freckle - professional freckle author: click:882
·5 min read
Woman using cash machine
Woman using cash machine

People who rely on face-to-face banking and cash are at risk of "being cut adrift" as branches and ATMs close, according to consumer group Which?.

Its analysis suggests that branches have been shutting at a faster rate in rural areas than in urban ones.

Which? has joined up with other consumer and business groups to call on the government to legislate soon on protecting access to cash.

The Treasury said it recognises cash remains "vital" to millions of people.

The consumer group wrote a letter to the Treasury on Monday calling for urgent action.

"With rising living costs placing additional pressure on people's personal finances, the consequences of being unable to withdraw cash for those consumers who already rely on it could be significant," it said.

"Unless legislation is introduced urgently, the ability to access, spend and deposit cash could be permanently lost for many consumers, leaving some of society's most disadvantaged at risk of financial exclusion with no way to pay for the goods and services they need in their daily lives."

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It is also backed by other organisations such as Age UK, StepChange Debt Charity, the British Retail Consortium, the Money and Mental Health Policy Institute, and the Federation of Small Businesses (FSB).

The national chair of the FSB, Martin McTague, who sits on the Access to Cash Pilots Board, said that the upcoming Queen's Speech next month was the "last chance saloon where protecting access to cash is concerned".

Which?'s new analysis suggested that since 2015, 4,685 bank branches have shut their doors.

A further 226 are already scheduled to close by the end of the year, it said, while the rate of closures in rural areas has outstripped those in urban areas.

Bank closures graphic
Bank closures graphic

Since 2015, the banking network in rural constituencies has been cut by half (50.7%), compared with 47.3% in urban areas.

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