A few weeks back, I wrote about the Age UK campaign that’s trying to keep public services accessible for people who aren’t confident online (you can read more about it here if you like). Well, recently I’ve discovered something that’s given me a bit of hope in that area.
As I’m sure you’ve noticed, a lot of banks have been closing their high street branches recently, making it very difficult to access in-person services without having to travel elsewhere. So unless you’re confident and comfortable with using online banking or mobile banking, it’s becoming harder (and more expensive if you have to travel further) to get your everyday banking done.
But there’s a company called Cash Access UK which is opening “community banking hubs” in various towns where you can speak to a human being to do things like pay in cash or cheques, check your balance, take cash out, pay your utility bills, top up your gas and electric, and so on. It’s all done under the umbrella of the Post Office, but if you have an account with any of the major banks or building societies, you can use their services.
They also offer a community banker service where you can talk to your banking provider about more complicated issues and transactions. Each weekday (Monday to Friday) will be for a different bank, so Monday might be Barclays, Tuesday might be NatWest, Wednesday might be HSBC… you get the picture.
You can find a list of the current banking hubs that are available here. Some are still under construction or are searching for buildings that they can use, but hopefully they’ll be up and running soon.
I’m really glad that someone’s doing something about this, as my nearest branch is now a 40 minute drive away – thankfully I’m confident with using mobile banking, but I know plenty of people who aren’t. And more to the point, they shouldn’t have to use it if they don’t want to.