MPs ask banks to let basic account customers to use rival ATMs
If you have a basic bank account, you'll know that you can't use all cash machines because some banks are arseholes. Well, MPs are urging these banks (RBS and Lloyds specifically) to stop this nonsense and allow people to draw money out wherever they like.
In a report, the Treasury committee has criticised banks for limiting access and ostensibly charging people with basic accounts to use a rival ATM. People with basic accounts are usually broke enough without them getting charged to draw out their scant pennies.
The report said the cost savings were small and "have potentially disproportionate effects," adding that "their [RBS and Lloyds] actions also sit uncomfortably with their stated commitment to basic bank accounts."
"The main purpose behind the development of the basic bank account initiative was to improve financial inclusion. It is particularly regrettable that this 'beggar my neighbour' approach may therefore lead to the closure or, in the case of cash machines not operated by banks, change to charging at existing free to use cash machines," the committee said.
The chairman of the Treasury Select Committee, Andrew Tyrie, said: "The Committee understands the need for banks to control costs, particularly in these difficult times. In this instance, the financial benefits to Lloyds and RBS appear relatively small but those affected would be amongst the most vulnerable people in society. In the longer run, both the way services are offered to customers and the charges they pay need reform to secure greater banking competition."
In a letter to the Treasury Committee, Brian Hartzer, chief executive of UK retail banking at RBS, said: "We currently pay a charge on every transaction, every time someone checks their balance or makes a withdrawal at an ATM run by another company. As a consequence, we are running our basic accounts at a loss to the bank which we need to reduce."
A spokeswoman for Lloyds TSB said: "Our basic bank account customers also have access to all Halifax and Bank of Scotland, one of the largest network of ATMs in the country, as well as post offices across the UK. They also have access to our Money Manager internet banking service."