Treasury Select Committee stands up for cash access

Posted on: 14/10/2011

The Chairman of the Treasury Select Committee (TSC), Andrew Tyrie MP, has written to the Chief Executives of RBS and Lloyds Banking Group in order to raise concerns about their plans to restrict basic bank account holders' access to cash at ATMs.

The TSC are understandably worried that the planned ATM restrictions will have a severely negative impact on the least well-off of the UK public who rely more heavily on easy cash access. As both banks concerned - RBS and Lloyds - are 83% and 43% owned by the government (or the taxpayers) respectively, the issue is one of great importance both within parliament and for all members of the UK public.

Mr Tyrie said: "We are concerned about the restrictions Lloyds and RBS are placing on basic account holders access to other banks' cash machines. This change threatens to leave many basic account holders at the two banks unable to access the majority of cash machines in the UK.

"A further danger is that this could signal the end of universal access to cash machines for all customers - a move which would stifle competition and be bad for consumers. We have written to both banks asking for an explanation of their policy to restrict access to cash machines for basic account holders."

We at Cash-is-Cool back the TSC's stance entirely - easy access to cash is essential for so many people in society and it is likely to be the more vulnerable that suffer at the hands of these planned policy changes. On top of the inconvenience of having to search for an ATM or bank at which they can withdraw cash, which could also lead to added travel costs, many basic account holders will inevitably end up feeling excluded by their banks.

Access to cash should be a basic right of any bank account holder and it is unacceptable that any bank - particularly those that are owned by the government - would restrict their customers' access to money in order to avoid what they deem to be "unnecessary costs".

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