UK fined banks that restrict access to cash

The government measure attempts to ease the financial exclusion of depopulated areas.

British banks can be fined if they do not offer individuals and small businesses the ability to withdraw or deposit cash within a radius of one mile (1.6 km) in urban areas and three miles (4.8 km)) In rural areas, as announced yesterday by the British Treasury.

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British banks can be fined if they do not offer individuals and small businesses the ability to withdraw or deposit cash within a radius of one mile (1.6 km) in urban areas and three miles (4.8 km)) In rural areas, as announced yesterday by the British Treasury.

The measure, introduced by the Economic Secretary of the Treasury, Andrew Griffiths, aims above all to stop the gradual disappearance of bank branches and ATMs in the most sparsely populated areas of the country, while taking advantage of the unstoppable growth of card transactions and payments with a mobile phone.

The Treasury chief said in a statement that the agreed minimum limits would ensure an optimal level of access to ATMs and personal banking services, though he warned that these limits could increase if cash use drops rapidly.

Griffiths noted that the Financial Conduct Authority (FCA), the UK regulator for the field, may impose fines on banks that do not comply with the new policy.

The minister stressed that cash has not yet played a “significant and continuous role” in the economy, although the use of coins and banknotes has declined in recent years.

He stressed that the FCA would assume the powers to maintain “current levels of coverage”, recognizing that needs may vary by location and may change over time.

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Financial institutions are required to offer an alternative to obtaining cash every time they close an ATM or branch in a town without financial services. Griffiths said: “People don’t have to drive for hours to get ten pounds from an ATM or to get a gift card for a birthday. Nor do shops have to drive long distances to keep money in the box.” He stressed that these measures will benefit “everyone”, especially those who “live in rural areas, the elderly and people with disabilities”.

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