Post Office launches new campaign to ‘save our cash’ amid widespread bank branch closures

World News

When you subscribe we will use the information you provide to send you these newsletters. Sometimes they’ll include recommendations for other related newsletters or services we offer. Our Privacy Notice explains more about how we use your data, and your rights. You can unsubscribe at any time.

Around eight million adults have said they would struggle to survive without cash. And, a staggering 1.4 million people do not have a bank account and rely exclusively on cash.

The “Save Our Cash” campaign comes as access to cash rapidly declines, with widespread bank closures across the country.

Research by the Payment Systems Regulator (PSR) found 55 percent of cash-accepting small businesses deposit cash at least weekly.

The Post Office is calling on Government to bring forward legislation to ensure access to cash becomes a legal right, with a requirement on the banks to ensure continued local access for those who need it.

The campaign highlights the myriad ways in which cash helps people and business each and every day.

This includes help with household budgeting, feeling safe, doing business, and keeping communities thriving, the Post Office said.

It comes as many Britons have seen their local bank branches close.

Since the start of 2015, 4,188 bank branches have closed, according to Which? research.

This is a rate of approximately 50 per month.

The South East of England has experienced the biggest reduction in branches in the period.

Furthermore, Scotland will see more than half of its banks close by the end of the year.

Nick Read, Chief Executive of Post Office, said: “Continued access to cash is not a luxury for millions of people and businesses across the country: it is an absolute necessity for their way of life.

“For them cash provides safety, security and even survival, which is why legislation is now needed to place an obligation on the banks, whose own customers’ interests we are concerned with.

“We firmly believe working in partnership with the banks is pivotal to building a secure and sustainable cash system and ensuring financial inclusion.

“But the current cash infrastructure is fragile and we need the industry to fully commit to meeting its service obligations, supported by appropriate legislation that ultimately ensures we Save Our Cash.”

A partnership has been set up to save cash, known as The Banking Framework.

This is an agreement between the Post Office and 30 UK banks, building societies and credit unions to ensure millions of customers have national, free access to cash and vital everyday banking services over the counter from their local Post Office.

However, the Post Office said the short-term nature of the Framework – lasting just three years – is “inherently fragile” since it relies on the goodwill of each participating bank to continue to want to provide their customers with a means to withdraw and deposit cash locally.

Whether using the Post Office network, which has more than 11,500 branches, or another provider, the Post Office ought to be under an obligation to ensure customers can continue to access their own accounts, free of charge, locally.

The Post Office set out five key needs to “save our cash”, which are as follows:

  • “Place a legal obligation on retail banks to provide access to cash withdrawal services free at the point of service for both consumers and businesses who rely on cash for their everyday lives, covering both notes and coins.
  • “Define appropriate national coverage criteria that banks must meet through this obligation that meets the needs of communities, ensuring that rural and urban deprived communities are not left behind.
  • “Provide for the creation of an industry fund, to be administered by a central, single organisation, to support the deployment or ‘levelling up’ of cash solutions for communities without appropriate cash services.
  • “Introduce greater transparency of deposit volumes and values in bank branches with volumetric and value information provided to the wider stakeholders on an industry-wide level to give better visibility of cash volumes and values nationwide.
  • “Define a single regulator to provide oversight of cash, including financial institutions, cash processing and distribution organisations to ensure delivery against this legislation.”

Source: Read Full Article