Consumer group Which? has released servant calls for the government to create a bespoke regulator tasked solely with protecting public access to cash.
“We have serious concerns that the alarming rate of cash machine and bank branch closures risks leaving people facing an uphill battle to access the cash they rely on,” said Jenni Allen on behalf of the lobby group. “Cash is also a vital backup as fallible digital payments grow in popularity, so the government must appoint a regulator to oversee these changes and ensure no-one is excluded and left struggling to go about their daily lives.”
The call-to-action follows on the back of a statement released last month by Link – the UK’s ATM network operator – detailing how it was raising the fee it paid cash machine operators to keep isolated free-to-use cash machines in place, after a wave of hundreds of closures.
The rhetoric from Which? on the issue of cash-access has been ramping up in recent months, after a major piece of research it under- took last year found that the UK was “sleepwalking” into becoming a near cashless society, to the obvious detriment of a decent chunk (approximated at around 8m people) of the population that still depends on physicalised currency.