More hubs needed

More hubs needed to help the ones who find using online banking challenging

According to Age UK, many seniors or those on lower incomes wish to interact with those dealing with money.

As per a survey conducted, 27% of people over 65 and 58% of those over 85 rely on face-to-face banking.

Although four locations shared by various banks have opened in recent years, hundreds of bank branches have closed in recent years.

Banks have been in the process of closing down their branches, but it was not until the COVID pandemic that this trend accelerated. Banks are encouraging their users to rely on apps as they steadily close down their branches.

As per the survey by Age UK, seniors over 85 are likely to feel more uncomfortable using online banking. The reason is that many online scams target seniors, leading to a lack of trust in online banking. They also lacked the necessary computer skills, which further hindered accessing their accounts.

Although the survey size shrinks when broken down, Age UK revealed that 15% of people with annual incomes between £30,000 and £49,999 mostly banked face-to-face, compared to 34% of people with incomes under £17,500.

As per statistics, branches in the poorer parts of the UK have closed compared to those in better-off areas since the beginning of 2020.

In a report called “You can’t bank on it anymore,” Age UK stated that it was crucial to protect physical banking spaces.

Numerous charities and consumer advocacy organizations urged a quicker rollout of banking hubs as branches were closing.

The main banks’ counter services are frequently provided by the Post Office at these hubs, and consumers can visit community bankers from their own bank in designated rooms. Each of the member banks contributes a portion of the hub’s expenses.

However, only four hubs have been established thus far, and since January 2015, 54 branches have closed on average per month, according to the consumer advocacy group Which?. There have been 48 additional hubs agreed upon for locations around the UK, but it may take them a year to locate a location and begin going.

Charity director at Age UK, Caroline Abrahams, stated: “We need to face up to the fact that huge numbers of older people, the oldest old, especially, are not banking online. Even older people who do bank online often want the ability to talk to a bank employee in the flesh about some kind of transaction.”

“A lack of face-to-face banking will only serve to further exclude the millions of people on a low income who have no or limited access to the internet.”

Chief executive of cash machine and cash access network Link, John Howells, conveyed: “It is vital to protect face-to-face banking services for the millions of consumers who rely on cash.”

“The proposed national network of shared banking hubs being provided by the banking industry is proving a popular and easy to use way to do that.”

- Published By Team Timeswire

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