Bristol Study Highlights Issues with Access to Cash for Deprived Communities

New research from the University of Bristol has found that two thirds of the cash machines that have started to charge customers in Bristol are located in some of the area's most deprived communities.

The research found that bank branches and free cash machines were concentrated in the more affluent parts of Bristol, while more deprived areas only had access to machines that were not run by banks, many of which had begun charging since October 2018.

Speaking on the publication of the research, Dr Daniel Tischer from the University of Bristol said: "As part of our research, we regularly encountered people who found it difficult to access mainstream banking products. They do not use digital payments because they find it easier to manage their money in cash, and simply had a lack trust in digital banking."

ACS chief executive James Lowman said: "These findings are concerning, as they show that many of the people who rely on cash most are now being charged a premium to access their money, and this problem will get worse as LINK reduces the fees banks pay to operators of free to use cash machines.  

“The Payment Systems Regulator should consider this research carefully and investigate whether the same trend is occurring across the rest of the UK. Free access to cash is essential for millions of consumers and must be protected, especially in areas where people don't have an alternative."

Earlier this week, the Treasury Committee published a report on consumer's access to financial services, raising concerns that the UK could inadvertently become a cashless society, with 'stark consequences' for a large portion of society.

ACS has continued its calls for the regulator to intervene to reverse the trend of cash machines either disappearing or moving from a free-to-use model to a charging model as a result of cuts to interchange fees first imposed by LINK in 2018.

The full research paper is available on the University of Bristol website here:

This entry was posted by Chris on Thu, 16/05/2019 - 11:26