UK homes to in pilot scheme to guarantee access to physical money
Eight communities cross the UK have been selected to help test solutions that could be the answer to the slow death of physical money.
Cash use has been declining in the UK, despite being vital to many people. Part of the problem has been a decline in free ATMs and bank branches, making it harder for people to withdraw cash.
But the Government has today unveiled a Community Access to Cash scheme, which will work with banks to help preserve cash.
Ways to make improvements could include installing more ATMs, having a place for retailers to deposit cash locally or banks sharing facilities.
The locations chosen are:
- Ampthill, Bedforshire
- Burslem, Staffordshire
- Botton Village, North Yorkshire
- Cambuslang, South Lanarkshire
- Denny, Falkirk
- Hay-on-Wye, Powys
- Lulworth, Dorset
- Rochford, Essex
The pilot will also focus on “digital inclusion” to help people access their money. This could be through improving broadband connections or improving people’s digital skills.
Why is cash such a hot topic?
Cash payments have declined rapidly since the coronavirus pandemic took hold, with many high street retailers favouring contactless transactions.
But some 17% of the UK population still rely on cash, with vulnerable communities including the poor and those in rural areas at risk from reduced access to physical money.
The pilot initiative is led by Natalie Ceeney, who chaired the Access to Cash Review. The findings will be published in early 2021.
Ceeney says: "The aim of the pilot schemes is to create new approaches to current challenges, which include helping local shops to give cashback, introducing shared bank branches, subsidising bus services to surviving branches, and the opening of local cash deposit centres for merchants”.