The Treasury is consulting on rules that mean people shouldn’t have to travel more than a specific distance to access cash without a charge.
It is likely to set that initially at one kilometer, but wants the flexibility to increase the distance over time if people’s need for cash changes.
The consultation explained that there’s already a framework for a geographical limit, because Link’s cashpoints and the Post Office have geographical commitments.
It proposes that rules will apply to the big high street banks and will be overseen by the Financial Conduct Authority.
Sarah Coles, personal finance analyst at Hargreaves Lansdown said: “There will be life after the death of the branch network. The government’s consultation into access to cash will come as a bitter blow to those who can’t imagine life without their local branch, but will be a huge relief for the millions of people who just need to be able to get hold of cash without paying a fee or travelling miles.
“The closure of bank branches is a vicious circle. The more that close, the more people move online, so there are fewer people relying on high street branches, so more of them close. The pandemic picked up the pace of this ever-decreasing circle, closing more branches temporarily and causing online banking to spike. The low interest rate environment that we’ll need to recover from the pandemic will make matters even worse, because banks find it harder to make money, and so they’re looking to cut costs by closing more branches.”
The consultation is open until the 23rd September.