New pilot scheme aims to improve UK access to cash

Local communities are being encouraged to join a new pilot scheme to improve access to cash in their areas.

The Community Access to Cash Pilots, which are being funded by the financial services industry, are a response to Natalie Ceeney’s Access to Cash report. The report argues that “for 47% – or 25 million people – cash is not a choice, but a necessity.”

Ms Ceeney, who will also be chairing the new pilot programme, said: “I am delighted to chair this independent initiative.

“With the UK becoming an increasingly cashless society, we need to make sure that digital payments work for everyone, but we also need to support communities who rely on cash, so that no-one gets left behind.

“We are very keen to hear from local communities and work with them to identify solutions, acting as a testbed for the type of measures that could be rolled out more widely. This is an important part of the wider work to ensure communities around the UK retain access to cash where it is most needed.”

Possible solutions may include supporting cashback services in local shops or developing new ways to help businesses bank cash.

“There is no ‘one-size-fits-all’ approach to achieve this and so understanding the needs of local communities is critical,” said Stephen Jones from UK Finance, a banking and finance trade association.

Last year, Vaultex worked with three banks to pilot a new scheme for business banking customers.