Banks, building societies and credit unions must now keep finance watchdog The Financial Conduct Authority informed of any plans to shutter free-to-use ATMs, in a bid to protect the millions of people who still rely on cash.
In updated guidance that will apply from next Monday, the FCA will expect firms to provide a clear summary of their analysis of customers’ needs, the impact of any closure and any possible alternatives before axing a cash machine.
The FCA will then monitor whether customers are being treated fairly before a final decision is made.
If plans to close an ATM do go ahead, firms will then be required to inform customers no less than 12 weeks before the machine closes as well as telling them of alternative ways to access their cash and giving them time to change banking provider if they feel it necessary to do so.
Sheldon Mills, the FCA’s interim executive director of strategy and competition, said: “Although closures or conversions are decisions for firms to take, it is important they implement these decisions in ways that are fair to their customers.
“Even during the pandemic, cash remains essential to many consumers. The publication of this guidance sets out clearly our expectations on firms and will ensure that firms make it a priority that customers are treated fairly, especially those who are most vulnerable.”