‘I couldn’t access money’ – Pensioner, 72, recalls struggle to access cash during lockdown

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Almost 13,000 free-to-use cash machines closed between 2017 and 2020 – a drop of nearly 24 percent.

And since January 2015, 4,299 bank branches have shut.

To avoid the nation sleepwalking into becoming a cashless society which ignores the needs of millions of citizens, Age UK is calling for the urgent introduction of a Universal Service Obligation (USO) on banks, to guarantee access to cash for everyone.

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Caroline Abrahams, Charity Director at Age UK, said: “This report demonstrates the continuing critical importance of cash in our society. It’s not only essential for older people but for us all, in a world increasingly compelling us to manage our money digitally.

“Protecting the cash system is essential for enabling millions of citizens to go about their lives, and since it was still widely used during the pandemic, when spending opportunities were few, it’s going to be all the more important for us once we emerge from it and return to some kind of normality.

“Older people who use cash and their local bank branch are finding it increasingly impossible to manage their money because more and more barriers are being put in their way.

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“They don’t want to give up their independence by having to rely on a family member or neighbour, they want to keep control of how they do financial things – but they don’t want to or can’t do it online.

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