Laid out in the Queen’s Speech, the new Financial Services and Markets Bill is seeking to increase protections for access to cash.
Signed into law at a time of heightened economic hardship – caused by the cost of living crisis – the Bill aims to ensure the ‘continued availability of withdrawal and deposit facilities’.
The legislation also enables the Payment Systems Regulator to allow banks to reimburse authorised push payment (APP) scam losses in order to decrease the severity of fraud
Losses as a result of scams have spiralled significantly in the previous year, partly as a result of the pandemic and the increased digitalisation of the payment space.
Louise Coles, Senior Director Banking, UK & Ireland for Diebold Nixdorf emphasised the importance of the decision, as she told Payment Expert: “Today’s important announcement means that access to cash will be protected by legislation – ensuring that consumers can continue to choose how they bank and have convenient access to the services they need. Maintaining this choice is crucial and a challenge that banks are rising to as they evolve to meet the changing needs and preferences of today’s consumers.
“Banks are already trialing shared services such as joint branches, banking hubs and working with retailers to offer banking services. Alongside the new legislation coming into place, this will ensure that cash remains in place as an important part of our financial system and the lives of the consumers who use it.”
The pandemic brought into focus issues of financial inclusivity, with numerous vulnerable groups remaining reliant upon cash as a method of payment.
Upon embarking on the transformation of the country’s financial services, the government has underlined its commitment to preserving cash.
Economic Secretary to the Treasury, John Glen, said: “We are reforming our financial services sector now we have left the EU to ensure it acts in the interests of communities and citizens, creating jobs, supporting businesses, and powering growth across all of the UK.
“We know that access to cash is still vital for many people, especially those in vulnerable groups. We promised we would protect it, and through this Bill we are delivering on that promise.
“We are also sticking up for victims of financial scams that can have a devastating impact, by ensuring the regulator can act to make banks reimburse people who have lost money through no fault of their own.”
Expert Analysis: The steps taken by the British government will be viewed as a key example of the UK moving away from the EU in terms of regulatory framework. The government will underline that leaving the Union has allowed a more personalised approach to regulation, as the UK seeks to bolster its own economy.