A NORTH-EAST MSP has condemned plans by Royal Bank of Scotland and Lloyds to restrict cash machine access by customers using their basic bank accounts.
SNP MSP for North-East Scotland Mark McDonald condemned the proposals as “scandalous”, adding that restricting customers on low-incomes to the use of certain cash machines could make life extremely difficult in rural areas where there is little choice of banking services.
Reports last week indicated that RBS customers with basic bank accounts would be banned from withdrawing cash from machines owned by other banks, in an effort to save money. Current account holders paying fees would not be affected, it is understood.
Mr McDonald said: ”It clearly discriminates against economically deprived customers who will now face difficulties accessing their own money, particularly if they do not live within easy reach of a cash machine belonging to their bank.
“Rural areas, such as in my own constituency of the North East, could also be hit hard, given that in many small rural villages and towns, there is often only one cash machine and consequently only one place to access money.
“This policy will make life more complicated for customers on low incomes who tend to use cash machines more and could force them into the ludicrous position of having to spend more to get access to their own cash.”
A spokeswoman from RBS defended the policy, saying that the move was being undertaken as free cash machine use was not sustainable, given the unprofitability of the basic account for the bank.
She said: “RBS is fully committed to offering a free basic account for people who may otherwise struggle to access banking services. Our basic account customers will continue to have free access to one of the largest cash machine networks in the country, including RBS, NatWest and Tesco ATMs, and can withdraw cash from more than 11,000 post offices across the UK.”