Consumer champion Which? is calling on the Government to appoint a regulator to protect access to cash, as a combination of bank branch and cashpoint closures dries up the supply of notes and coins in small communities.
New figures obtained by Which? show cashpoints disappeared at a rate of 488 per month between June 2018 and December 2018 with over 250 free-to-use machines also closing monthly - due to changes in the way the UK’s cash machine network is funded.
Meanwhile, over the course of the year, 102 so-called “protected” machines closed in more remote areas which receive boosted subsidies aimed at keeping them open.
Which? is concerned that the double blow of cashpoint and bank closures - with more than 3,300 UK branches closing since 2015 - is leaving communities struggling to access the cash they rely on.
While digital payments are on the rise in the UK, Which? insists that there is still real appetite across the country for access to cash from consumers and businesses alike.
The lobby group's new campaign calls for Government to appoint a regulator with sole responsibility for the cash infrastructure to ensure consumers and businesses can continue accessing cash
Jenni Allen, managing director, Which? Money, says: “We have serious concerns that the alarming rate of cashpoint and bank branch closures risks leaving people facing an uphill battle to access the cash they rely on.
“Cash is also a vital backup as fallible digital payments grow in popularity - so the Government must appoint a regulator to oversee these changes and ensure no-one is excluded and left struggling to go about their daily lives.”