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Barclays criticised for stopping customers withdrawing money from post offices

Barclays has been slammed by leading business figures for pulling out of a deal which allows its customers to withdraw money from Kent's post offices.

The high street bank this week confirmed it was not among the 27 other banks which penned a new three-year agreement to allow their customers to use the services in post office branches nationwide.

Barclays has come in for criticism for the move
Barclays has come in for criticism for the move

The deal is seen as vital to many - particular those in rural areas who have already seen a big drop in bank branches and ATMs.

It comes after the bank confirmed it would not be closing a string of branches in the county for at least two years.

But it follows a trend which has seen Barclays, along with a number of other major banks, shut outlets as more of us take advantage of online facilities.

Labour MP Rachel Reeves, chairman of the Commons' Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy Committee urged Barclays to "think again" about pulling out of the post office agreement, describing the move as "deeply retrograde".

Her concerns were echoed by Natalie Ceeney, who carried out a recent review for the government into the public's access to cash.

Barclays customers will not be able to withdraw money from the post office from January 2020
Barclays customers will not be able to withdraw money from the post office from January 2020

She said it was "damaging and counterproductive".

Barclays involvement in the post office scheme will end in January.

Both business and personal customers with Barclays will, after that date, be able to deposit cash and cheques over post office counters, but it means many who relied on the facility amid the dwindling number of ATM points could be left without easy access to their money.

However, it says it will introduce a cashback scheme enabling customers to withdraw cash at businesses in remote towns and areas where there is no branch or ATM alternative within 1km. This will launch in over 200 locations from January 2020.

Adam Rowse, MD of branch based banking at Barclays said: “We are constantly exploring new ways to evolve the role of the branch.

Many have come to rely on the post office to withdraw funds as banks close branches
Many have come to rely on the post office to withdraw funds as banks close branches

"By maintaining last in town or remote branches over the next two years, and working with the community, we hope to increase demand and keep these branches viable.

"We also recognise that there are opportunities to support customers with access to cash where there is no branch or ATM nearby. We are launching a cash back offering working with merchants to give customers access to cash over the counter.

"By behaving differently, we hope to see a real difference in how customers interact with us.”

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