Cash Deposits Rejected at Bank Branches: Customers Left in Limbo
Banks in the UK are slowly transitioning away from cash and towards digital banking. Cashless branches have been popping up, and more and more branches now accept deposits via machines. This has caused a decrease in the number of bank branches and cash payments being made. The government has launched initiatives to protect the use of cash, such as shared banking hubs, and assessments are now carried out whenever a branch is closed. Despite this, there are still concerns about the way cash is being phased out.
Full Story – Bank branches turn away customers depositing cash
For centuries customers have used bank branches to withdraw and deposit cash, but this everyday activity could soon be a thing of the past.
Banks across Britain have slowly started to launch a strange new type of branch – one that does not accept cash at all.
It would have been unthinkable in 1650 when a cloth merchant called Thomas Smith opened the first provincial bank branch in his native Nottingham. Yet there are now at least three banks in the UK where the Queen’s (or soon the King’s) face is nowhere to be seen.
Barclays – which operates two of the branches in King’s Cross and Hanover Square, both in London – said they are designed for customer meetings with bank staff, while Santander said its cashless branch in Leeds is primarily a co-working hub.
Both banks pointed out that the branches are within easy reach of others which do facilitate cash deposits, and Barclays said it has no current plans to expand them elsewhere.
But for Ron Delnevo of the Payment Choice Alliance, this is a sign of things to come.
“It is the direction of travel,” he said. “What is the point of a bank branch that doesn’t handle cash?”
He pointed out that while the number of cashless branches is currently small, more and more branches now accept deposits via machines, rather than allowing customers to interact with staff members.
British banks can state they are simply following what their rivals abroad have done. Those looking to deposit their krona in Sweden will now find that hundreds of the country’s bank branches are cashless. In contrast, Irish bank AIB last year announced plans to ditch cash at 70 of its 170 locations – eventually backtracking following “customer unease.”
For many, paying with notes and coins has become a forgotten habit – leaving us at a loss when we need a pound for the trolley at the supermarket or the locker at the gym.
As many as 23 million people in the UK used cash only once or not at all in 2021, according to the banking trade body UK Finance, an increase of 10 million in just one year.
Cash has gone from accounting for more than 17 billion payments – 45pc of the total number of transactions in 2015 – to just six billion in 2021.
The number of bank branches has fallen by 5,000, a reduction of more than a third since 2012. According to the Government, nearly 5pc of the population now live further than two miles from a bank.
In a bid to avert this slump, the Government launched the Access to Cash review in 2018, which led to the launch of Cash Access UK – a body tasked with introducing new initiatives to protect the use of notes and coins.
Cat Farrow, its chief operating officer, said: “Cash and face-to-face banking services are vital for many people and businesses across the UK. More people are choosing to shop online and bank digitally, which inevitably means fewer customers are visiting bank branches. However, it’s essential that we continue to support people who rely on cash.”
One such new initiative is shared banking hubs, where high street banks share one building, which were established in Rochford in Essex and Cambuslang in Scotland.
Customers of any bank can visit the hubs to deposit or withdraw cash, while the area’s most popular banking brands will send representatives to provide other services on one day each week.
Now, whenever a bank decides to close a branch an assessment is carried out by Link, which operates the cash network, to decide whether the area requires additional cash services.
This could include a shared bank hub, and there are now four in operation, with more in the pipeline.
However, critics highlighted issues with the way…