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Cash machine row rumbles on

Cash machine row rumbles on

Category: Banking

Updated: 05/12/2011
First Published: 05/12/2011

This article was correct at the time of publication. It is now over 6 months old so the content may be out of date.
The row over banks not allowing their basic bank account customers to use other banks' cash machines shows no sign of ending.

Last week it was revealed that Andrew Tyrie MP and Chairman of the Treasury Select Committee had written to Lloyds TSB and Royal Bank of Scotland to ask them to explain their decision to restrict some of their customers' access to cash machines, and had asked that they reconsider their position.

Consumer group Which? has waded into the debate, calling the decision to restrict people's access to cash a 'disgrace'.

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.

Responding to Mr Tyrie's letter which asked the banks to outline why they had taken the decision, Royal Bank of Scotland said that it pays a transaction every time one its customers makes a transaction or checks their balance at an ATM run by another company.

"As a consequence, we are running our basic accounts at a loss to the bank which we need to reduce," it added.

Lloyds TSB said that 95% of its customers were still able to make cash withdrawals within a mile of their home.

But their reasoning has been met with anger from some quarters.

"It's a disgrace that the tax-payer owned RBS has gone further than any other bank and denied 1.1 million of its customers access to the majority of free cash machines," said Richard Lloyd, chief director of Which?.

"This will inconvenience basic bank account holders and lead to extra costs and hassle if they have to travel further to obtain cash. Even worse, these changes could force them to stop using their account and go back to managing all of their money in cash - imposing extra costs at a time when they can least afford it.

"RBS should reverse its decision and, with the other banks, commit to offering universal cash machine access for basic bank 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.

Compare basic bank accounts

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