Cambuslang and Denny are among eight locations across the UK to have been chosen to take part in an initiative to help improve communities’ access to cash.
The areas which successfully applied to take part in the Community Access to Cash Pilot (CACP) initiative will work with the banking industry to look at solutions to keeping cash viable for people and businesses.
Potential ways to make improvements could include, for example, installing new ATMs, having a place for retailers to deposit cash locally, or sharing bank branch facilities.
There will also be a focus on “digital inclusion”. Better broadband connections or improved digital skills could also be ways of making it easier for people to access their money.
The solutions could vary depending on the needs of a particular community.
Cambuslang was left “unbanked” following bank branch closures in quick succession.
The community is keen to support financially vulnerable customers in accessing cash, and small businesses.
Meanwhile Denny, located between Edinburgh and Glasgow, has a population of around 8,000, with 16% of the population over 65 years old.
It has seen a reduction in access to cash facilities.
The other UK locations chosen are Ampthill in Bedforshire, Burslem in Staffordshire, Botton Village in North Yorkshire, Hay-on-Wye in Powys, Lulworth in Dorset, and Rochford in Essex.
Some further locations will be confirmed in the coming weeks.
The pilot initiative is being led by Natalie Ceeney, who chaired the Access to Cash Review and the findings will be published in early 2021.
Cash use has plummeted during the coronavirus outbreak, with many shops encouraging people to pay by card and people visiting ATMs less often.
According to figures from UK Finance, 7.4 million people rarely or never used cash in 2019 – but 2.1 million used cash regularly.
Ms Ceeney said: “Over the past decade we’ve seen a massive shift from cash to digital payments, and Covid-19 has accelerated that trend further.
“But we know that digital payments don’t yet work for everyone, and for many individuals and communities, cash remains essential.
“But the world is changing – we can’t just ‘magic’ back our old bank branch and ATM infrastructure. Instead, we need to use innovation to develop new solutions as well as harness tried and tested approaches to meet people’s needs.”
John Glen, Economic Secretary to the Treasury and City Minister, said: “Digital payments have brought huge benefits, but we know that cash remains important to many people’s lives.
“So I welcome today’s announcement of the locations of the pilots, which will help inform the most effective ways of protecting access to cash at the local level, at a time when our communities mean more to us than ever.
“I look forward to seeing the progress made by the pilots, as the Government develops legislation to protect access to cash, and would like to thank Natalie Ceeney CBE for her work on this important issue.”
John Howells, chief executive of cash machine network Link said: “Our analysis of ATM withdrawals during the lockdown shows significant differences depending on where you live and that cash is even more important in deprived areas.
“The UK isn’t ready to go cashless and Link is working hard to support communities maintain maintain cash access.”
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