The British Government is to give the country’s financial watchdog more powers to ensure that people have access to cash from banks.
Under the Treasury’s new framework, people and businesses should be no further than three miles away from withdrawing cash without any fees.
It sets out the minimum expectations on banks to protect services for people and businesses wanting to withdraw or deposit cash.
Under the measure. the Financial Conduct Authority (FCA) has been given new powers to protect the provision of cash-access services.
The Treasury says that its framework builds on laws granted through the Financial Services and Markets Act 2023, and will allow the FCA to fine banks and building societies that do not comply.
The policy statement also says that in cases where a service is withdrawn and a replacement service is needed, this should be put in place before the closure takes place.
Andrew Griffith (Economic Secretary to the Treasury) said: “Whilst the growing choice and convenience of digital payments is great, cash has an important and continuing role to play.
“People shouldn’t have to trek for hours to withdraw a tenner to put in someone’s birthday card – nor should businesses have to travel large distances to deposit cash takings,” he added.
Last year, the Central Bank called for a wider social-policy discussion on the future of cash in the Irish banking system.
In a submission to a consultation on the Department of Finance’s review of retail banking, the regulator said that cash remained “an important means and choice of payment” for consumers.