NatWest and Royal Bank of Scotland have come under fire for their decision to prevent holders of their basic bank accounts from using other providers' cash machines.
The move means that NatWest and RBS basic bank account holders can only withdraw cash from NatWest, RBS or Ulster Bank cash machines in the UK or at the Post Office.
The move places RBS and NatWest alongside Lloyds TSB, which already restricts it 'Cash Account' holders to using Lloyds TSB cash machines and branches of the Post Office.
Previously, most basic bank account holders were able to use the Link network to withdraw cash.
The decision has not been publicised by the banks but has been revealed as the announcement hits the doorsteps of RBS's 1.1 million basic bank account customers.
It means that they will now be unable to access around four in five free cash machines in the UK .
"This change will increase financial exclusion as it leaves basic bank account holders at RBS unable to access around 80% of the free cash machines in the UK," Which? principal policy adviser Dominic Lindley commented.
"These account holders will be inconvenienced and might incur extra costs when travelling to find a cash machine they can use."
Basic bank accounts offer most of the usual services available from a standard current account, some including a debit card, direct debits, standing orders and cash withdrawals.
However, they don't 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.
"It seems as though RBS is making the change to save money," added Mr Lindley.
"RBS UK retail bank made significant profits in the first half of this year, but the performance of the overall group was dragged down by losses in its corporate and investment bank."
Disclaimer: Information is correct as of the date of publication (shown at the top of this article). Any products featured may be withdrawn by their provider or changed at any time.
Moneyfacts.co.uk will, like most other websites, place cookies onto your computer’s
hard drive. This includes tracking cookies.