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Banks quizzed over cash machine restrictions

Banks quizzed over cash machine restrictions

Category: Banking

Updated: 13/12/2012
First Published: 10/10/2011

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Two of the UK 's largest banks are being quizzed as to why they have stopped some customers from using other banks' cash machines.

The chairman of the Treasury Select Committee, Andrew Tyrie MP, has written to the chief executives of Royal Bank of Scotland (RBS) and Lloyds raising concerns about their policy to restrict basic bank account holders from using cash machines owned by rival banks.

RBS announced its decision to restrict basic bank account customers from using competitors' cash machines in August, while Lloyds TSB already has such restrictions in place.

Andrew Tyrie MP expressed concern about the restrictions the banking giants have enforced, adding that the change threatens to leave many basic account holders at the two banks unable to access the majority of cash machines in the UK.

"A further danger is that this could signal the end of universal access to cash machines for all customers - a move which would stifle competition and be bad for consumers," he added.

"We have written to both banks asking for an explanation of their policy to restrict access to cash machines for basic account holders."

Basic bank accounts offer many of the usual services available from a standard current account, including a debit card, direct debits, standing orders and cash withdrawals, but do not come with an overdraft facility.

As a result, they can be useful for consumers with a poor credit history (or no credit history at all) who find it difficult to access mainstream banking services.

"Your decision has major implications for access to universal banking services and appears to target vulnerable consumers who are most at risk from financial exclusion," said the letter.

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