Citizens Advice: Free cash machines good for poor

Following proposals by the Treasury’s cash machine taskforce, the government will include a “financial inclusion premium” into the rules for Britain’s network of ATMs.

This should lead to 600 new free-of-charge cashpoints appearing in some of Britain’s poorest areas, hopefully encouraging more people to use banks and the debt management options this gives.

Teresa Perchard, director of policy at Citizens Advice, said: “Not having free access to money hits poorer people hard, forcing them to travel miles to the nearest free machine or to pay to access their money.

“Introducing standardised and clear information on machines that do charge fees is very good and something we called for after our survey showed that many people didn’t know they were being charged for withdrawals. Customers must know exactly how much they are paying when taking out money.”

Economic secretary to the Treasury, Ed Balls, said that banks and the Post Office were working together to help achieve this.

He added that free ATMs were “vital” in poorest areas, saying it was a “huge step” towards better financial inclusion and the debt management this will bring.

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