A pilot scheme to give communities access to cash is being rolled out across nine parts of the country.
The Community Access to Cash Pilots (CACP) is being tested in towns and villages across the UK where no banks are available or where residents and businesses are reliant on cash, particularly ageing populations.
The pilots will start this autumn and will run until the end of June 2021.
The scheme received 23 applications and nine were selected on the strength of the local leadership willing to lead the work, and the need for innovation in cash access in their community.
In some areas local retailers and customers have nowhere to deposit and withdraw cash due to the closure of high street banks.
The initiative, which is being funded by the banking and financial industry, will trial alternative means of accessing cash that do not rely on traditional banks.
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The nine pilot communities are Ampthill in Bedfordshire, Botton Village in North Yorkshire, Burslem in Stoke-on-Trent, Cambuslang in Lanarkshire, Denny in Falkirk, Hay-on-Wye in Powys, army barracks Lulworth Camp in Dorset, Rochford in Essex and Milisle in Northern Ireland.
“While growing numbers of customers are increasingly choosing to pay digitally, the banking and finance industry is committed to ensuring that access to cash remains free and widely accessible to those who need it.
“The Community Access to Cash Pilot is an important initiative, which will offer sustainable alternative solutions to branches which meet the needs of communities and individuals. The range of innovative ideas announced today marks a key next step in the progress of the pilot,” said Eric Leenders, UK Finance managing director, personal finance.
Gareth Shaw, head of money at Which? welcomed the pilot schemes but said more needed to be done.
“It’s encouraging that these pilots are still going ahead in spite of the coronavirus crisis. However, if communities are going to be effectively supported, then the industry and regulators must do all they can to ensure any successful measures are rolled out as widely as possible.
“While industry-run schemes are important in the short term, they are not enough to solve the cash crisis on their own. The government must urgently press ahead with much-needed legislation to protect cash before it becomes obsolete,” he added.