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Innovation in Community Access to Cash Pilot in Rochford unveiled

23 Sep Innovation in Community Access to Cash Pilot in Rochford unveiled

The Community Access to Cash Pilot (CACP) initiative has today announced the plans for the nine Cash Pilot locations across the UK, where trials are being tested to help address challenges of improving cash access and acceptance. 

In June, eight locations were chosen based on the location, the issues the communities faced, and the local people willing to lead the pilots. A further pilot has now been confirmed in Millisle, County Down, Northern Ireland. 

Each community will be trialling a number of different solutions, based on meeting the needs of local communities. In Rochford, this will include: 

  • Post Office Banking Hub in a currently empty retail venue, comprising a bank-style counter service able to process transactions with privacy, as well as community banking support from the major banks, debt advice, and wider support for financial issues 

  • An automated SME deposit facility in the Post Office Baning Hub   

  • A new free-to-use ATM in the Rochford   

  • Cashback with purchase offered by a large number of local stores 

  • Digital education services to help those who want to access digital banking services 

  • A digital solution to coin recycling supported by Shrap – an innovative new service which allows consumers to store change on a card or app, saving retailers from managing small change   

  • A Vulnerable Customer Directory – ensuring that everyone is aware of the services that the retail banks can offer to vulnerable customers   

Each pilot community will start implementing their solutions over the remainder of 2020, with the aim that they are all fully operational by the end of 2020. The pilots will operate for the first six months of the 2021 and will report back their findings in the summer of 2021. 

These pilots operate in a wider context of a UK-wide cash infrastructure under threat, millions dependent on cash, and a government commitment to legislate to protect cash access. The aim of these pilots is to trial solutions which could have wider applicability across the UK. 

CACP is chaired by Natalie Ceeney CBE, the author of the Access to Cash Review and brings together the resources and expertise of the financial services industry (including all of the major retail banks) with those of the Access to Review panel. The team is also working closely with a wide range of local and national consumer groups and charities to bring in depth expertise to help support the work. 

Natalie Ceeney, Chair, Community Access to Cash PilotCash remains critically important to both individuals and communities across the UK. The rapid switch to digital is threatening the viability of today’s cash infrastructure. This can lead to consumers left without cash access or forced to leave their own village or town to get cash elsewhere, often at significant inconvenience and costIn turn, local retailers lose custom, as consumers spend their case elsewhere, and then struggle to bank their cash takings without shutting up shop to drive to a bank branch some miles away, losing revenue and frustrating customers. It’s critical that we find ways to protect the viability of cash, for consumers and communities alike. 

These pilots are designed to find sustainable ways to keep cash viable locally, which, if successful, can then be rolled out more widely. The government has already committed to legislate to protect cash, and the financial services regulators are working closely with banks to identify practical next steps. Our aim is to use the pilots to critically inform this work. 

The work we’ve done with local communities has shown us in some detail what is neededIt’s clear that to keep communities viable, people need to be able to get cash easilyin a variety of ways. ATMs are important, but don’t meet everyone’s needs, particularly the most vulnerable, so being able to get cash over a counter, in a safe space, is still important to many. Small businesses equally need to be able to deposit cash, and locally, so that they don’t need to close their shop to bank their cash.  

These pilots will use innovative technology to help people access and deposit cash. The pilots will also work with key existing service providers to explore how they can support the cash infrastructure, by creating local drop in spaces for community bankingretailers offering cashback widely and Post Offices enhancing their services to create a new model of ‘Post Office Banking Hubs’. The commitment of the major banks, the Post Office, LINK and key consumer groups to all work together on this initiative gives us confidence that we can create solutions which keep cash viable in a sustainable way.