Older customers struggling to access cash, warns Age Scotland
Age Scotland has raised concerns over the lack of access to cash following a new House of Commons Scottish Affairs Committee report, which reveals that 53% of Scotland’s bank branches have closed since 2015 – the highest percentage loss in the UK.
A total of 500,000 people in Scotland are reliant on cash, and the charity believes older customers are likely to be worst affected by closures of bank branches and cash machines.
Adam Stachura, head of policy and communications at Age Scotland, said: “We welcome the recommendations from the Scottish Affairs Committee in their important report.
“As the cost of living rises, it is more important than ever that older people can access their money in cash form for free whenever they need to. Many older people would be lost without cash, which allows them to confidently and safely budget, spend and feel in control of their finances.
“This is particularly important for people on low and fixed incomes, as well as the hundreds of thousands of over 60s in Scotland who do not have access to the internet.”
He added: “The move towards an increasingly cashless society has undoubtedly been sped up by Covid-19 but, even before the pandemic, bank branches and free to use cash machines were disappearing at an alarming rate, leaving older and more vulnerable customers cut off from vital services and making it harder for them to manage their money.
“Banks must consider the needs of all their customers. They can’t just absolve themselves of responsibility and need to invest in a strong cash infrastructure across the whole country.”