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Banking hubs can help people retain access to cash and independence

New research from Age UK* continues their campaign to ensure millions of people retain access to cash. They report that 4 in 10 over-65s with bank accounts don’t manage money online.

Among a range of solutions the charity urges the banks to cooperate by opening banking hubs. Such shared outlets can help replace branches when closures risk creating a banking ‘desert’.

Banks have been disappearing from high streets for years. Online and mobile banking. after decades of ‘plastic’ card shopping, have made cash increasingly irrelevant for many.

Digital disadvantage

That this is affecting older people more than others is no surprise. It’s among the most obvious examples of social exclusion for those lacking digital skills or confidence.

Yet the closure of banks and convenient access to cash puts others at a disadvantage too. Using a chart based on Which? data BBC News today shows banks closing faster in more deprived parts of the country.

Epsom is fortunate in giving residents a choice of banks, albeit with some reduction in the range of personal financial services. Other parts of the borough provide access to cash through ATMs and services in Post Offices.

We hope this relatively strong position will continue. And alongside our own campaign for digital inclusion we strongly support this Age UK work. Their Charity Director, Caroline Abrahams’s is right to say on behalf of older people (and others we’re sure):

“The ability to manage your own financial affairs is something that many older people understandably hold dear, and it is extremely upsetting if you find your capacity to do this is being removed because your local bank branch is shutting down and you can’t easily get to another one.

* As bank branches continue to close, a new Age UK report reveals that 4 in 10 over 65s with a bank account do not manage their money online, Age UK, 03/05/23

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