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09 October 2019

Collaboration needed to end cash deserts, say small firms

Responding to new analysis from the consumer group Which? suggesting that almost one in eight (12%) rural communities must travel at least one kilometre to their nearest free-to-use cashpoint, Federation of Small Businesses (FSB) National Chairman Mike Cherry, said:

“Cash deserts threaten to create small business deserts. Millions of consumers still value the use of notes and coins, and if they can’t access their money freely, that hurts spending with local small firms.   

“Small business owners shouldn’t have to spend time and money travelling miles to their nearest free-to-use cashpoint – time and money that should be spent growing their firms. There’s also the environmental impact of this travel to consider.

“Collaboration is key to tackling the lack of available cash machines. Between government, regulators, banks, card providers, the Post Office and independent ATM operators, we certainly have enough actors in this space. Bringing these different agents together to iron out how we create a bank branch and cashpoint network that both satisfies user demand, and is commercial viable, must be the focus.  

“We also need to enable more small business owners and consumers in rural communities to access online services. This Government’s commitment to broadband investment marks a welcome step forward in this regard.

“Innovation is vital. More banks should embrace the opportunity to create community hubs: providing crucial in-person support alongside meeting spaces, cafes, Wi-Fi lounges and events. Doing so will keep existing customers happy, and help to recruit new ones.”