Scotland Explores Access to Cash

calendar iconMar 16, 2022


The Scottish Affairs Committee recently met with representatives of banking services to discuss access to, and the ongoing importance of cash in Scotland for consumers of all ages and backgrounds.

Giving evidence, Martin Kearsley, Director of Banking for the Post Office, said the company has recently seen a massive increase in demand for cash services across the UK, which has been especially marked in Scotland. He noted that, in December 2021 alone, the company handled over £60 million in withdrawals and around £180 million in deposits, split fairly evenly between personal and small business transactions.

Bank closures in Scotland have driven more people to use the Post Office to meet their cash needs. There has also been a shift in the demographics of people using these services. The Committee observed ‘there is a perception that mainly older or vulnerable customers continue to require access,’ however the reality is that people of all ages are using cash.

It is not just the vulnerable, perhaps elderly and less financially able customers whom we now [provide cash services]. We are seeing younger groups starting to come through, which is possibly a reflection of the pandemic.
"Martin Kearsley, Director of Banking, Post Office

The Committee concluded with agreement that further legislation to protect access to cash would be a positive development, given 54 percent of Scotland’s 1,019 bank branches that existed in 2015 will have closed by summer 2022. It cites the Access to Cash Review’s finding that the UK is not ready to go cashless, and 17 percent of the population would struggle to cope with reduced access to and freedom to use cash.

We would welcome plans for legislation [to protect cash access]. We think that it should be a simple set of geographic requirements and that all providers across the sector should be involved.
"Ricky DigginsCommunity Bank Business Delivery DirectorLloyds Banking Group
Last Updated: Mar 15, 2022