Cash still matters - 5.4 million people are estimated to rely on cash in their day-to-day lives. That’s why a key part of our Intent to 2025 is to protect access to cash across the UK.
Since 2015, more than 5,500 branches been closed by the banks and according to FCA data from June 2022, Post Office branches make up more than 65% of all branch-based cash access points in the UK. Research indicates that as many as one in five adults would struggle to cope without cash, while seven in ten small businesses believe cash is important to the future of our high streets. And, according to research conducted for Post Office by London Economics, half of SMEs use cash and banking services at their local Post Office. Clearly, cash still matters. That’s why a key part of our Intent to 2025 is to protect access to cash across the UK.
Post Office is already the de facto provider of free-to-access cash services and an integral pillar of the UK’s cash infrastructure. But we want to do more and we are proud to be enhancing our banking services when other banks are downgrading theirs.
Post Office firmly believes working in partnership with the banks is pivotal to building a secure and sustainable cash system and ensuring access to cash for the UK. Established since 2017, our Banking Framework (now in its third iteration) is a standardised framework for UK financial institutions that allows customers of all major banks and building societies to use any post office for basic banking services – including withdrawing or depositing cash, paying in cheques, and obtaining balances.
However, we want to do more to provide free, convenient and reliable access to cash for communities and businesses. For example, we worked with Parliamentarians as the Financial Services and Markets Bill was debated to ensure the ability to withdraw and deposit cash is protected - the Bill received Royal Assent in July 2023.
We have introducing dedicated banking counters in some of our busier branches and invested in technology such as cash counting machines to provide an even better service to business customers.
And we are leading on new solutions to safeguard access to cash for UK communities through our collaboration with Cash Access UK in delivering Banking Hubs. These are dedicated places where communities can access banking services from the major banks as well as withdrawing and depositing cash easily over the counter.
Banking Hubs are somewhere to speak in person with a local community representative from your own bank. They’ll be on site for a specific day each week to help with more complicated transactions, such as mortgages, loans and pensions. Your local community banker can offer debt advice and help with fraud prevention on their dedicated day of the week.
Owned by Cash Access UK, funded by the banks, and run by the Post Office, they're a way of bringing back banking to the people and areas that need it. We currently have seven Banking Hubs open with plans for a further 44 this year.
You can find out more about Banking Hubs here.