A ‘vacuum’ for cash services in rural areas?
Even before the pandemic, there were concerns about the ‘cashless society’:
There is now a ‘vacuum’ in rural areas for those wanting to get hold of cash:
In rural areas of the UK, fewer than half (45%) of residents have a bank branch within 5km of their home. The FCA said it was considering stronger requirements of the sector to ensure five million people who rely on notes and coins are able to have access to it… The FCA research found that a greater proportion of consumers were finding it difficult to cope with fewer retailers accepting cash. However, it found that eight out of 10 small and medium-sized businesses said they were “very likely” to accept cash over the next five years.
Uptake of digital money services has increased, but there are concerns that the technology does not suit everyone, with some of the most vulnerable people in society still relying on cash. Charity Age UK said that people required the same guarantee of access to cash as they did for running water, electricity and the post.
Closures of cash machines and bank branches, as well as risks to the continued economic viability of network of producing, transporting and sorting cash, have prompted government and regulators to take action. The Treasury has already thrown its weight behind the use of local shops as an alternative to ATMs. It is keen on the idea of shops offering cashback to customers, even if they have not made a purchase. The government has also published plans to ensure consumers and businesses have a legal right to withdraw and deposit cash within “a reasonable distance” of their home or premises.
Meanwhile, with the Treasury’s consultation on access to cash now open, the ATM deployer NoteMachine is seeking the views and input of its allied stakeholders – as reported by the Rural Services Network:
As part of a new report on the Future of Cash, to be shared with government and the media, NoteMachine would like to hear from those working in rural services to inform a series of case studies in relation the importance of cash in the workplace, discussing the following points:
- The impact of bank closures and reduction in free to use ATMs on the ease of accessing cash, for free.
- The importance of having an inbound and outbound cash device near to where you live or work.
- The importance of cash to your business and your customers.
- The impact of bank closures on your ability to safely deposit/bank cash at the end of the trading day.
- Any anecdotes where you have experienced issues with digital payment methods (such as digital payment machines not working) or difficulties accessing cash and how that has affected your business.
The team at NoteMachine would love to hear from you.
Please get in touch with firstname.lastname@example.org for more information or to share your cash experiences