The Daily Telegraph

Elderly put off using ATMs by tetchy queuers


ONE in three people over the age of 80 do not use cash machines, with many blaming pressure from impatient queuers for their reluctance, a House of Lords report found.

The report warned that millions of elderly people were facing financial exclusion as a result of the closure of hundreds of local bank branches, leaving them with no easy way to access their own money.

The House of Lords financial exclusion committee was told by the Finance Foundation think tank that older groups were being deterred from using ATM technology because of concerns over their physical or cognitive limitation­s.

The think tank’s survey found that one third of over80s had either never used a cash machine or preferred to avoid them where possible.

Of these, four in 10 cited physical issues limiting their capacity to use an ATM, perhaps due to sight problems or stiff fingers.

A similar proportion were concerned about doing something wrong or being expected to be too quick.

The report stated: “The growing number of bank closures does, therefore, have the potential to have a particular­ly exclusiona­ry effect upon older age groups.”

It was announced this week that more than 150 Royal Bank of Scotland and NatWest branches would close after a “dramatic shift” in customer banking.

Around 53pc of UK bank branches closed between 1989 and 2016 as banks attempted to save money. The rapid decline means that for the first time there are now fewer bank branches than Post Offices, of which there are 11,600 across the UK.

The report added that over recent years the Post Office and banks have been working to establish a single common and standardis­ed set of banking services which are available at post offices.

Although largely unknown to customers, this means that 99 per cent of current account customers can access some banking services over a post office counter.

The report said: “The majority of customers, however, are simply unaware that these services exist.

“The current waste of this untapped potential is not acceptable, and needs to be addressed through a concerted joint effort from Government, the banks and the Post Office.”

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