For those who don’t know, the Access to Cash Review is an independent panel of payments and consumer experts, led by former Chief Financial Ombudsman Natalie Ceeney CBE and sponsored by LINK to look at how cash use is evolving in an era of change.
Its interim findings have highlighted that cash is a necessity for nearly a fifth of the population and that a too rapid a transition to a cashless society could result in significant social exclusion for many people.
Consumer champion Which? is so concerned that it has called on the Government to appoint a regulator to protect access to cash.
Figures obtained by Which? show that nearly 500 cash machines per month closed between June and December last year. Bank closures and the way in which some ATMs are funded are being blamed for the trend.
The proposed regulator would be tasked with protecting the cash supply infrastructure for the benefit of consumers and businesses who rely on cash. Indeed, cash offers a range of benefits, including immediate settlement and it doesn’t suffer from the kinds of outages occasionally experienced by digital payments platforms.
Meanwhile, banking group Lloyds has responded to the issue with plans for a pilot scheme to pay retailers a fee to offer cashback. This is likely to be focused on those rural and hard-to-reach communities where there is an acute problem.
Payments experts at the ATM Industry Association (ATMIA) would like to see a range of measures aimed at protecting the supply of cash, and have recommended new legislation to prevent preferential treatment of alternatives to cash and lower barriers to entry to Independent ATM Deployers (IADs).
The Association also calls for two ATMs per 2,000 population. This is based on the average transaction rate for free-to-use ATMs of 3,600 withdrawals per month. Two ATMs in a community would ensure access to cash in the event that one of the machines is down for maintenance.
As far as CashFlows is concerned, IADs are an important piece of the cash jigsaw and many are stepping in to fill the void created by bank branch closures.
Creative IADs are finding ways around funding challenges, using advertising and retail partnerships to develop income resilience and independence.
CashFlows’ is keen to support new entrants, whilst helping existing players grow their estates - and in doing so help nurture a healthy payments market that benefits consumers for whom cash isn’t just king; it’s vital.
The Access to Cash Review’s final report is due to be published in the first half of this year. We’ll be sure to provide analysis and updates when that happens.
To talk more about ATMs, and see how CashFlows' BIN Sponsorship solutions may be able to help your IAD proposition, contact Adeel, Senior Sales Manager, on 07711 781 420, or by email firstname.lastname@example.org