Barclays has been slammed by regulators and consumer groups for opting out a deal that lets customers withdraw cash at UK Post Offices.
With ATMs and bank branches being closed across the country, the deal between banks and the Post Office is often touted by authorities as an important way of ensuring Brits still have easy access to cash.
The Post Office has reached a three year agreement with 28 banks and building societies to ensure that their customers can withdraw cash using a debit card but one major lender, Barclays, has not signed up.
From the end of January, Barclays customers will now be able to take out cash at their local Post Offices. However, they will still be able to pay in cash and cheques as well as check their account balances.
Barclays says that it is ending the Post Office service because it is taking action elsewhere: promising to freeze branch closures for the next two years where the site is a ‘Last in Town’ option or a remote branch.
In addition, the bank points to a new cashback scheme for small businesses and its support of the Link ATM network’s efforts to ensure that free cash machine access is available across the country.
This has not prevented the Post Office from expressing its disappointment and consumer group Which? from branding Barclays’ move a “shocking decision”.
The Payment Systems Regulator has also entered the fray, saying: “We are concerned about the impact this will have, and we will be closely monitoring the steps Barclays plan to take to make sure there are suitable alternatives for its customers to access their cash – especially those who rely on cash or who live in rural areas.”