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New government body to safeguard access to cash

John Wood ·
ATM keyboard

The Association of Convenience Stores (ACS) has welcomed the creation of a new group chaired by the Treasury which has been set up to safeguard consumers’ access to cash.

In addition to the new Joint Authorities Cash Strategy Group, which will bring together regulators, the Treasury and the Bank of England, the Government has made a number of other commitments as part of its response to a call for evidence on cash and the digital economy.

It said it will:

• support the Bank of England's work to develop a new wholesale cash distribution system to ensure cash is being distributed as needed across the country;

• develop a new coin checking and validation framework to remove counterfeits from circulation and stop them from ending up in people's pockets;

• confirm there are no plans to alter the make-up of coins or notes and that current cash denominations will continue in their current form; and

• continue to support new digital methods of payment while safeguarding access to cash for those who need it.

ACS chief executive James Lowman said: “We welcome the creation of the new Cash Strategy Group, which must address as a matter of urgency the significant loss of free to use ATMs in recent months.”

Earlier this week, new figures from consumer group Which? found that fees of at least 95p per withdrawal have been imposed on 1,700 cash machines between January and March this year. Lowman added: “LINK’s cuts to interchange fees have been the catalyst for hundreds of machines to either move from free to use to a charged model, or be removed altogether, and this trend must be reversed.”

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