Cash in Rural Areas

The Government has launched at consultation on 1st July 2021 on Access to Cash. 

It is the next step in legislating to protect access to cash and ensuring that the UK’s cash infrastructure is sustainable for the long term.

Despite the decline in cash use over recent years, cash remains an important payment method for millions across the UK.

In line with this commitment, the Treasury undertook a Call for Evidence in 2020, which sought views on the key considerations associated with cash access. The Government also legislated in the Financial Services Act 2021 to facilitate the wide-spread adoption of cashback without a purchase.

This consultation sets out proposals for further legislation.

It seeks views on:

  • establishing geographic requirements for the provision of cash withdrawal and deposit facilities
  • the designation of firms for meeting these requirements
  • establishing further regulatory oversight of cash service provision

The consultation can be accessed at this link and closes on 23 September 2021.

The BBC ran a story focusing on this consultation which can be read at this link
It highlights these key points:

‘Consumers and businesses will have a legal right to withdraw and deposit cash within "a reasonable distance" of their home or premises, under government plans.

The long-awaited proposals are designed to ensure notes and coins remain available to those who need them.  Cash remained a necessity for at least eight million people, research found.  Campaigners fear some retailers could stop accepting cash if it becomes too burdensome to process.

Small businesses, particularly, have been affected by closing bank branches. Travelling further to deposit their takings costs time and money.

The Rural Services Network recognises the importance of cash to the rural economies and communities, with concerns over the impact of lack of availability of cash for communities who may have to travel long distances to access cash.

In the Revitalising Rural campaign, the RSN sets out a number of policy asks of Government.

The chapter on Rural Town Centres and High Streets sets out this ask of Government in relation to ATMs.

ATMs: Despite the rapid recent rise in cashless payments, rural people need free and local access to cash to go about their daily lives. Lack of free access impacts disproportionately on certain groups and many small rural businesses rely on cash. Proposals allowing retailers to give cash back without another purchase are welcome, but they will not provide 24/7 access. Government and bodies managing the financial payments system should consider changing how the free-to-use ATM network is funded. For example, the interchange fee could be set independently to reflect transactions costs fairly. A tiered system could be introduced, with lower fees for clustered city centre ATMs and higher fees to protect rural ATMs.


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