Post offices “increasingly relied upon” for access to banking

From Citizens Advice Bureau
A new report highlights the growing role of the post office network in providing access to cash. The IPPR comments that as ATMs and bank branches close, increasing numbers of consumers are being pushed towards alternative providers, such as the Post Office. However, the think tank warns that with fewer consumers withdrawing cash, the costs of maintaining cash infrastructure are shared across a shrinking pool of transactions.

The IPPR calls for an extended banking levy to include the full range of major payment and financial service providers, and says the government should legislate for a universal service obligation on cash access. The IPPR proposes amixed approach to meeting local banking needs. Building on existing Post Office banking services, the think tank recommends the creation of a government owned Post Bank providing affordable basic banking services to all citizens.

The IPPR also recommends the retail banks should expand shared banking hubs for personal and business banking. Separately, LINK, the UK’s main cash machine network, has announced banks and building societies have agreed an extra £4 million additional funding for ATMs. The news follows last autumn’s launch of a request a free-to-use ATM service for communities in areas where people find it hard to access cash. LINK reports that over 2,700 community requests for an ATM have been received
since October.

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