A MAJOR change to cash rules have been outlined as thousands of bank branches have disappeared from the high street.
The Financial Conduct Authority (FCA) has proposed the new rules so that customers can still access cash despite the closures.
A major change to cash rules have been outlinedCredit: Shutterstock
In the two years to the beginning of 2023 a total of 1,391 branches shut, according to the FCA.
Hundred have also either closed or been scheduled to close since then according to the UK’s largest cash machine network, LINK, which keeps track of any planned branch closures across the UK.
The changes will mean that banks have to assess issues customers may encounter.
These may include local factors like certain demographics and transport.
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Where gaps in access are found, banks and building societies will need to act to address them.
The FCA also wants to prevent people from facing unreasonable costs to access their money, which could be through charges, travel costs or time.
Sheldon Mills, executive director of consumers and competition at the FCA stated: “We know that, while there is an increasing shift to digital payments, over three million consumers still rely on cash – particularly people who may be vulnerable – as well as many small businesses.”
He said that it’s important that consumers impacted by recent innovations are supported.
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Mr Mills added: “These proposals set out how banks and building societies will need to assess and plug gaps in local cash provision.
“This will help manage the pace of change and ensure that people can continue to access cash if they need it.”
The FCA found that in the first few months of 2023, 95.1% of the UK population were within one mile of a free-to-use cash withdrawal point, like cash machines or Post Office branches.
Meanwhile, 99.7% of the UK population is within three miles.
It said that it’s “important” to meet local needs, which may change over time, as the availability of cash access services can impact local communities, economies and high streets.
Under the new proposals, designated banks and building societies will be required to:
Undertake cash access assessments when changes are being made to cash access services – to understand whether additional services are required to meet local gaps
Respond to requests from local residents, community organisations and representatives to consider, assess and plug gaps
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