Barclays Bank is no longer going to let its customers withdraw cash from U.K. post offices beginning in January, and the decision has drawn the ire from Post Office officials as well as supporters of rural communities and elderly customers, who are generally more reliant on cash.
The Financial Times is reporting that the Post Office lets 28 banks offer banking services, like withdrawals, deposits and balance checks. The public service also oversaw 130 million banking transactions.
Beginning Jan. 8, Barclays customers are only going to be able to deposit money, and they’ll no longer be able to take any cash out.
At the heart of the issue is the fact that in many rural communities, there aren’t a lot of bank branches, and the Post Office is a lifeline to many customers who rely on cash to do their day-to-day business.
Barclays said it wants to end customer reliance on the post offices, and it has invested in cash machines that don’t cost anything to use, or cashback offerings at businesses when people pay with a card.
Barclays said that a new cashback scheme would help customers in remote areas. The bank also promised it wouldn’t close branches in places where it was the “last bank in the town” until near the end of 2021.
The bank said it would install “pop-up banking pods” in those places that would allow for “face to face financial support and education.”
The Post Office said it was “disappointed that Barclays had chosen to stop allowing their customers to make cash withdrawals.”
“For people living in more rural or urban deprived areas Post Office branches are a real lifeline, ensuring the financial inclusion of more vulnerable customers by providing vital services such as cash withdrawals, bill payments and postal services all under one roof,” the Post Office said.