PLANS by RBS to stop customers with basic bank accounts being able to withdraw cash from certain ATMs were announced this week, forcing hundreds of Galloway residents to travel miles just to withdraw money.
The Key Account holders of the non-fee paying account will see their ability to use cashpoints at Bank of Scotland, Clydesdale and Lloyds, amongst others, blocked and they will only be able to withdraw from Royal Bank of Scotland and Natwest ‘holes in the wall’.
The move comes with a change in the account name to a Basic Account and will freeze out around a million customers.
An email sent to customers due to be affected from October 25th states that there are 8,000 RBS and Natwest cashpoints in the UK - but fails to point out that in Galloway, customers will have to travel to Newton Stewart, Stranraer, Kirkcudbright, Castle Douglas and even as far as Girvan and Dumfries - and the nearest Natwest machines are in Workington and on the Isle of Man.
MP Russell Brown has hit out at the move and has contacted RBS in a bid to stop this detrimental move.
He said: “This is a thinly veiled cynical attempt by the RBS to push people towards fee paying accounts. RBS is cruelly targeting the most vulnerable people by saying unless they upgrade their account they will be shut out of 80% of the free cash machines in the UK. Many areas in Dumfries and Galloway don’t have the luxury of multiple ATMs from different banks and people have to use the machine nearest to them. RBS customers may now be faced with significant transport costs to get to a cash point they can use.
“Customers with basic accounts usually don’t have good financial track records and are often the most vulnerable. Rather than throwing up obstacles to people getting on with their daily lives, RBS, who was bailed out by the taxpayer, should be seeking to support people who are trying to make themselves more financially secure.
“This is more than just a matter of inconveniencing people. There are still far too many people without bank accounts, which makes it difficult to pay bills or prove your identity. The people least likely to have a bank account are the poorest, and since this move by RBS specifically penalises them, my fear is that it will make it even harder to tackle this problem.”