With branch numbers dwindling, the UK government wants to ensure that all Brits have access to ATMs where they can not only withdraw, but deposit, cash. Meanwhile, a London politician is calling for cash machines to be upgraded so that they can be used by rape victims to alert police.
As banks slash the size of their branch networks in response to the migration of customers to online and mobile channels, the government says that it is working with ATM network Link on changing its rules to increase access to "intelligent" ATMs, where users can deposit money.
Not only would this help customers of established players that are closing branches, it would also level the playing field for new digital challenger banks, enabling them to offer cash deposit services, argues a report.
Separately, London Assembly member Andrew Boff is proposing that cash machines should be used to make it easier for rape victims to discreetly alert police.
According to figures from the Metropolitan police, obtained under the Freedom of Information Act, nearly 40 rape attacks a day go unreported. Boff is urging London mayor Boris Johnson to get banks to update their machines with an option to report crimes.
"Victims of rape often can’t phone or visit the police for fear of being seen or overheard. But if someone is being controlled, and has little time on their own, they could walk into a bank and send a short message on an ATM discreetly and anonymously, and make arrangements to meet police at a neutral place," says Boff.