The banking infrastructure in the UK has seen dramatic changes in recent years and whilst some customers may choose to go cashless, millions of people still rely on cash and it’s important that those who need it, have easy and convenient access to it.
Last year we announced our involvement in the Community Access to Cash Pilots initiative, led by Natalie Ceeney CBE, the author of the Access to Cash Review. The initiative sees eight locations across the UK, chosen based on issues around the lack of cash services faced by the community and local people willing to lead the pilots, participate in trials to help address challenges of improving cash access and acceptance.
Each community is served by a great local team running the Post Office there, so we are at the very heart of each pilot site and proud to take our place in it. Six of the pilots will trial solutions from cash back in local shops to speedy and automated cash deposit facilities for small businesses to deposit their takings – whilst two of the pilots in Cambuslang in South Lanarkshire and Rochford in Essex feature a brand-new concept being trialled for the very first time.
The two Post Office BankHubs, which officially launched today (28 April), are shared retail spaces where high street banks are able to hold appointments with their customers on specific days of the week, in addition to the usual Post Office everyday banking services completed either at the counter, or in new automated self-service machines.
This is a proof of concept and our first step into a future where we make banking a secure, high volume and slick service, benefitting Postmasters and customers alike and ensuring Post Office remains at the centre of cash for as long as it is needed in the country. We are working with Postmasters in these communities to help them maximise the opportunity and remain front and centre in continuing to meet the needs of the communities they serve.
Martin Kearsley, Cash and Banking Director said: “In many communities, Post Office is the last counter in town for cash services, but for many people who still need a place to meet their bank, our new BankHubs are a lifeline. The Post Office network has long formed the bedrock of cash access in the UK and we’re fully committed to continuing and expanding that role. We see it as essential that any community struggling amid bank branch closures, and those whose livelihoods depend on cash, be provided with an appropriate solution, and hope that in partnership with the banks, the Hubs will prove to be a great success.”
The trial stage of the pilots will run until the end of September 2021, when the results will be used to inform regulators and industry alike so that cash can remain a viable mode of payment for consumers across the UK, and so that small businesses are able to continue to accept and bank cash.
Facts & Figures
- Around eight million adults have said they would struggle day to day without cash access.
- 4 million people do not have a bank account and rely on cash to survive.
- 55% of small and medium sized enterprises (SMEs) do not accept cards and rely entirely on cash payments.
- On average, over £2 billion of cash is withdrawn and deposited per month at Post Office branches.
- Annual volumes of cash withdrawals via Post Office counters have grown by 46%, to £7.8 billion since the start of the Banking Framework in 2017.
- Cash deposits at Post Office have increased by 110% to £22.1 billion in the same period.
- Six CACP pilots are being run in existing Post Office branches in Burslem in Staffordshire, Botton Village in North Yorkshire, Denny in Stirlingshire, Hay-on-Wye in Powys, Lulworth in Dorset and Millisle, County Down in Northern Ireland.