'Maintaining Access to Cash: Protecting Consumers' Rights with New FCA Powers.'
The Financial Conduct Authority (FCA) has been granted new powers to ensure reasonable provision of cash deposit and withdrawal services across the UK. The rules they plan to propose will have a flexible approach, taking into account the needs of different areas and demographic characteristics, such as digital connectivity, geography, transport infrastructure, or number of retailers. Under the proposed new rules, designated banks and building societies must assess the reasonableness of cash provision when significant changes in local access occur, such as the closure of a bank branch or post office. When gaps in reasonable provision are identified, firms may be required to fill them if they are deemed to have a significant impact. The FCA will also monitor coverage of access to cash across the UK by collecting information from providers of cash access services. The rules are expected to take effect by summer 2024, with the full consultation period being conducted beforehand. In the meantime, the FCA Consumer Duty is in place to provide higher standards of protection for banking customers. Furthermore, the Payment Systems Regulator is working with the FCA to ensure that the UK’s cash infrastructure remains resilient, cost-effective and accessible for consumers and businesses.