Withdrawing less than £300? Then head outside to the cashpoint, banks tell customers

·2-min read
There are fears that the move to digital-only service in banks could impact on elderly and vulnerable customers - SOPA Images /LightRocket
There are fears that the move to digital-only service in banks could impact on elderly and vulnerable customers - SOPA Images /LightRocket

Banks have been preventing customers from withdrawing less than £300 from inside branches and telling them to use cashpoints instead, it has emerged.

A number of high street banks have increased the number of self-service branches, whilst Barclays says that it “encourage” its customers to use cash machines for smaller withdrawals and simple tasks.

Whilst other banks said that they do not have minimum withdrawal amounts, HSBC now operates a third of all its branches as self-service only. Lloyds also now runs around 91 branches that do not have “traditional” counters.

Fears were raised on Monday that digital-only service could impact on elderly and vulnerable customers who are not comfortable using the technology.

After customers complained to this newspaper that they could not withdraw less than £300 at a counter, Barclays said that whilst account holders were encouraged to use self-service points so that staff were free to deal with more complex requests, they can visit staff if they need to.

HSBC said that it had converted 194 of its 511 banks into a “Digital Service Branch” which provides “‘traditional’ cash and cheque transactions using self-service technology”.

ATMs ‘not a good option’ for older people

Caroline Abrahams, the charity director of Age UK, said: “Many older people value the services provided by bank branches, in particular the human touch that a counter service can provide.

“While technology plays an increasing role in helping people manage their money, if banks are to encourage their customers to use tech-based services they must make sure the right support is put in place to help those who may have difficulties.

“This includes using ATMs, which are not a good option for many older people, whether because of health conditions that impair their ability to use them, concerns about security, or other perfectly valid reasons.

“For as long as there are older people who want and need to use in-person services, which is likely to be the case for the foreseeable future, the banks should continue to provide them.”

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