RBS to provide 'free' ATMs for poor

Royal Bank of Scotland is to provide an initial 300 free-to-use cash machines in some of the Britain's poorest areas.

The bank is currently seeking the advice and support from MPs, credit unions and community leaders, to ensure that the most appropriate locations in the UK benefit.

Cash machine usage has shot-up over the last three years with a 28% increase in withdrawals and a 37% increase in balance enquiries.

As part of the new initiative, RBS has already installed three free-to-use machines, two in Scotland and one in England. A machine has already been located in the London Borough of Harrow's council offices, alongside social housing payments. The other two machines have been installed in Scotland after working closely with MP John Robertson, to identify suitable sites in his constituency. The first machine has been installed in Partick, Glasgow, in the local Woolworth's store, while a second machine has been installed in the Yoker Credit Union.

RBS is also inviting anyone who believes that their area qualifies for a free-to-use cash machine, to visit the dedicated web link at www.rbs.com/freecashmachines and register their request.

This will ensure that RBS will not only receive the views and opinions of the heads of local communities, but also the individuals who actually live in these communities.

The new free-to-use cash machines will be branded as either RBS or its NatWest subsidiary.

Citizens Advice recently criticised the spread of fee-charging cash machines, saying that charging cash machines were not affordable for the poor. These ATMs typically charge around £1.75 for a cash withdrawal, and banks have defended the charges as necessary due to maintenance expenses.


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