Eight locations across Britain have been chosen to take part in the Community Access to Cash Pilot (CACP) initiative to help improve communities’ access to cash.
The eight areas which successfully applied to take part in the CACP initiative are Ampthill in Bedfordshire, Burslem in Staffordshire, Botton Village in North Yorkshire, Cambuslang in South Lanarkshire, Denny in Falkirk, Hay-on-Wye in Powys, Lulworth in Dorset, and Rochford in Essex.
These areas will work with the banking industry to look at solutions to keeping cash viable for people and businesses. Solutions may vary based on the needs of each community, but the pilot will be looking at a range of ways to make improvements – including sharing bank branch facilities, having a place for retailers to deposit cash locally, and ‘digital inclusion’, as better broadband connections or improved digital skills could help people to access cash.
The pilot initiative is led by Natalie Ceeney, who chaired the Access to Cash Review which was commissioned by Government. The findings will be published in early 2021.
With many shops encouraging customers to pay by card and people visiting ATMs less often, cash usage has decreased as a result of the coronavirus outbreak. According to UK Finance, the trade association for the UK banking and financial services sector, 7.4 million people rarely or never used cash in 2019 – but 2.1 million used cash regularly.
Post Office providing a solution
Commenting on the launch of the CACP pilots, Post Office’s Banking Director, Martin Kearsley, said: “This initiative will help bring real focus on to robust and sustainable solutions for many people living in towns and communities across the UK, who rely on easy access to cash.
“With 11,500 branches across the UK, including some in the trial communities, Post Offices help avoid cash deserts by providing a solution to people’s cash and banking deposit needs. We look forward to contributing to the evolution of these pilots into national solutions that will ensure continued acceptance and use of cash for as long as consumers and businesses require it.”
Almost every bank customer – whether personal or small business - can access their usual high street bank account to get cash out at any Post Office branch, make a cash or cheque deposit or check their balance. The services we offer are vital, especially for rural and remote communities, and they provide an opportunity for face-to-face interaction, which is important to many customers.