Banc Cambria

I spent the day (9th Oct) at the Access to Cash roundtable run by the Payment Systems Regulator (PSR), chaired by Chris Hemsley, their MD

Fascinating stuff:-

  • The PSR has a Joint Authorities Access to Cash Group (JAACS Group) which meets regularly and will finally report in autumn 2010 – apparently lots happening in Govt slowing them down!
  • The Post Office have re-contracted with banks to provide a payments in/out service, and 28 have signed up, but not Barclays, so their customers won’t be able to use the service after Jan 2020. The new contracts are more expensive, and the PO say they’ll be passing more on to Postmasters/Mistresses.
  • The Post Office pays out £1billion in benefits to the unbanked each bank via their card account system
  • The Post Office has had an 8% increase in cash withdrawals over the last year, and a 40% increase in cash paid in, mostly from small retail businesses
  • 10 years ago the Post Office handled cash flowing from the Bank of England out to its customers. Now the flow is reversed, as it takes in more cash, and the net transfer is back to the BoE
  • John Howells, CEO, says Link has given a policy promise to Govt that 95% of the population will have an ATM within 1 mile of their home, and that any high street with more than 5 shops will have either an ATM or a Post Office within 1 kilometre
  • Link say cash withdrawals from ATMs are dropping 10% each year
  • Of the 11,500 Post Offices in the UK, only 4,000 are open on Sundays, so no cash available from the other 7,500
  • Battle (of Hastings) has 6 ATMs, all indoors, and not available on Sundays, tourists can’t get any cash, so they spend less
  • The Shetlands have 30,000 people, but the only free to use ATM is in Lerwick
  • Some of the smaller “challenger banks” charge for ATM withdrawals even from “free” ATMs. Two million accounts operate this way
  • “Cash-back” is only available on a card if you also purchase something, so a problem for the less well-off
  • PSR state 60% of transactions were cash 10 years ago, now 30%. Not clear if this number of transactions or amount of money
  • PSR adamant consumers should have choice of using cash, but accepting cash is not a legal requirement. I suspect they would like this to be a requirement, but they didn’t actually say that
  • Which? research to be published soon, shows 19% of people feel they need access to cash all the time, and a further 19% need it from time to time
  • 18-24 year-olds prefer cash as a means to help them budget more easily

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