The bank has pledged to not close branches in remote areas where it is the last bank in town
In another blow to rural and elderly customers already hit by bank closures, Barclays says it stopping over the counter cash withdrawals at Post Offices from the beginning of next year.
Barclays says it “remains committed” to the Post Office network, but while customers and businesses can still pay in and check their balance, over the counter cash withdrawals will end from January 2020.
Customers wishing to make a withdrawal by cheque will still be able to do this if they arrange it beforehand.
The decision by Barclays will reduce then number of places their customers can get cash, forcing them to use cash machines or find an alternative bank.
David Clarke, head of policy at campaign group Positive Money, says: “The news that Barclays is stopping savers from withdrawing cash at Post Office branches is a blow to millions of the bank’s customers who rely on cash in their day-to-day lives.
“With bank branches and free-to-use ATMs closing at an unprecedented rate, over-the-counter Post Office withdrawals had been seen as a back-up option, but that view is no longer viable."
Rural areas have been hit by a raft of bank branch closures in recent years, while cash machines are also closing at a rate of 250 a month as operators shut unprofitable ones.
This has left towns and villages without access to basic banking services, hitting the elderly and the disabled particularly hard.
Banks often justify branch closures by pointing toward partnerships with the 11,000 Post Offices across the UK.
While this provides people with the opportunity to do their day-to-day banking, post offices only offer basic banking services, such as cash withdrawals, business deposits and balance enquiries.
A spokesperson from the Payment Systems Regulator says: “We are concerned about the impact this will have, and we will be closely monitoring the steps Barclays plan to take to make sure there are suitable alternatives for its customers to access their cash - especially those who rely on cash or who live in rural areas.”
The Post Office has confirmed that the rest of the UK’s major banks will continue to offer full banking services to their customers through the Post Office.
Pledge to save banks
Barclays has pledged to not close any branches in remote areas or where it is the last bank in town for two years.
The bank says that over 100 branches will be ring-fenced and remain open until at least October 2021.
Banks are shutting down branches at an alarming rate, with 3,303 bank closures between January 2015 and August 2019 – around 34% of the network, according consumer group Which?.
The closures were primarily driven by the Big Four banks, with RBS Group cutting its network by 56%.
Earlier this year, Nationwide pledged to keep its last branch in any town or city open until at least May 2021.
Mr Clarke says: “The major banks cannot be relied upon to protect customers’ access to cash, and industry commitments - such as Barclay’s pledge to keep open a small number of branches for two years - are piecemeal and inadequate.
“The only solution is for the government to introduce legislation that guarantees consumers’ ability to use cash for as long as they need it.”
Adam Rowse, managing director of branch-based banking at Barclays, says: “By maintaining last in town or remote branches over the next two years, and working with the community, we hope to increase demand and keep these branches viable.”
Barclays is also introducing a cashback scheme enabling customers to withdraw cash at businesses in remote towns and areas where there is no branch or ATM.
Branches Barclays has pledged to protect
Last In Town branches (62)
Alderley Edge, Bargoed, Barnard Castle, Barnoldswick, Bedale, Bentham, Biggin Hill, Bilbrook, Builth Wells, Burnham-on-Crouch, Cadishead, Carnforth, Chalfont St. Peter, Cockermouth, Cuffley, Drayton Norwich, Dunmow, Esher, Flitwick, Framlingham, Guiseley, Haltwhistle, Harleston, Haxby, Hemsworth, Heywood (Church St), Histon, Holmes Chapel, Hoyland Nether, Keswick, Kidsgrove, Kirkby Stephen, Knowle, Leiston, Leyburn, Llandeilo, Llangollen, Manningtree, Middleton-in-Teesdale, Oundle, Pickering, Radlett, Risca, Saltburn by the Sea, Seahouses, Shenfield, South Woodham Ferrers, Southwick, Southwold, St Ives, Stanhope, Tredegar, Treorchy, Wadebridge, Watton, West Mersea, Whickham, Woburn Sands, Wombourne, Wroxham, Yarm, Ystrad Mynach.
Remote branch (43)
Bideford, Brecon, Brigg, Caernarfon, Camborne, Chipping Norton, Cranleigh, Daventry, Deal, Devizes, Driffield, Easingwold, Falmouth, Gainsborough, Heathfield, Helmsley, Helston, Horncastle, Kirkby Lonsdale, Lampeter, Launceston, Leek, Malton, Market Drayton, Mildenhall, Monmouth, Pocklington, Porthmadog, Prudhoe, Pwllheli, Richmond North Yorks, Settle, Shaftesbury, Sheerness, Sleaford, Stow-on-the-Wold, Tenby, Thirsk, Towcester, Ulverston, Welshpool, Whitby, Workington.
More millions into their coffers. The bank officials work in banks and therefore do not have a problem accessing their bonuses or cash.
To hell with he country peasants.
Well done Barclays - not…
Well done Barclays - not just content on being an unethical bank - you've alienated a lot of customers who rely on taking money out of the Post Office from their accounts. The mass exodus begins - unless it a ploy to make the owners rich by bankrupting the company or getting the government to give it a bail out. Wouldn't put either past them!
Over the counter cash withdrawals
Natwest closed its branch, followed by Barclays closing its branch and ATM in our local town some years ago.
The Post Office is the last place to withdraw cash.
Buses to the next town which has an ATM only run every two hours.
Are we out in the sticks?
Closing rural bank branches in the first place was a stupid idea. It caused more traffic on our roads, especially when the residents could just walk down the road to withdrawl cash. Now with elderly people who don't feel safe standing at an outside cashpoint & not feeling safe, it makes it worse.
Bank cash withdrawals from post offices
Closeure of this facility is another bad thing for post offices this will hit them hard that will all the other cut backs they have had to put up with it seems we are being forced to going cashless
No Money from Post Office
I bet Barclays will still let us pay in money via a Post office.
I have been with them since I was in my first job at age 14 now 73 they consider no one but themselves. My husbands now 88 and can only get as far as the post office on a scooter, cash points in towns are out of reach, what happens if I end up the same way and cannot drive. I think the goverment should step in here.