The Royal Bank of Scotland are charging customers for withdrawing money from rival bank’s ATM machines in a bid to prevent customers using them. This has caused anger amongst consumer groups who believe this will be a damaging measure for vulnerable customers.
Holders of RBS’s no-fee Basic account will not be able to use rival cashpoints without a charge. Neither can they own a chequebook or have an overdraft.
Who will be affected
The Basic account is designed for people who are not eligible for other kinds of accounts. It previously came free of charge and is offered by all banks in the UK. Basic account holders with NatWest will also suffer. Lloyds TSB customers with Basic accounts have never been able to use rival cashpoints.
Marie Burton, financial inclusion expert at Consumer Focus, said: “This is a kick in the teeth for many of RBS’s most vulnerable customers. We would call on RBS to reconsider this move, which will exclude its basic bank account holders from using the majority of the UK’s free cash machine network.
“Although there are still nearly a million people without bank accounts, the banking sector has been working hard to steadily reduce this figure. Short-sighted moves like this will only help to reverse the good work that has been done. People living in rural areas deserted by bank branch closures may not have the option of other ATMs nearby.”
80% of ATMs will be chargeable
Dominic Lindley, principal policy adviser at Which?, said: “This change will increase financial exclusion as it leaves basic bank account holders at RBS unable to access around 80% of the free cash machines in the UK. These account holders will be inconvenienced and might incur extra costs when travelling to find a cash machine they can use.”
A spokesperson for RBS said: “RBS is fully committed to offering a free basic account for people who may otherwise struggle to access banking services. Our basic account customers will continue to have free access to one of the largest cash machine networks in the country, including RBS, NatWest and Tesco ATMs, and can withdraw cash from more than 11,000 post offices across the UK.”