Free ATMs to be protected guaranteeing people right to access cash

Free ATMs to be protected under law guaranteeing people the right to access cash that will be unveiled in the next budget

  • Chancellor Rishi Sunak will say millions who rely on cash will still have access 
  • Could include protecting existing cash machines & keeping them free-to-use
  • Ministers will look at giving watchdogs new powers to ensure banks continue to properly support their customers’ needs

New laws to protect the future of cash will be announced by Rishi Sunak in next week’s Budget.

The Chancellor will declare that the millions who still rely on cash will continue to have easy access to it for years to come.

Ministers will look at giving watchdogs new powers to ensure banks continue to properly support their customers’ needs.

Ministers will look at giving watchdogs new powers to ensure banks continue to properly support their customers’ needs. Stock image

Measures could include protecting existing cash machines, keeping them free-to-use or encouraging shops to provide cashback.

Mr Sunak said: ‘People across Britain work hard for their money, with millions relying on coins and notes to make daily payments.

‘That’s why, at next week’s Budget, I’ll be making sure they can continue to access and spend their earnings in whatever way they want.’

The Treasury is expected to start talks with the industry and regulators immediately after the Budget on Wednesday.

Newly appointed Britain’s Chancellor of the Exchequer Rishi Sunak leaves Downing Street in London, Britain February 13, 2020

The UK will consider examples from around the world such as Sweden, which legislated to require large banks to provide their customers with facilities for withdrawing cash.

The rapid disappearance of many bank branches and free-to-use ATMs has fuelled concerns about the public’s ability to continue accessing coins and notes.

Around two million people in the UK still rely mainly on cash for their day-to-day spending – with three in ten payments still made using notes and coins.

John Howells, of Link, which runs the national network of cash machines, said: ‘Though the UK is moving towards a digital economy, it is vital that we protect free cash access as long as people need it.’

 

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