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Access to cash at UK post offices? It just doesn’t have the stamp of authenticity

More stories are popping up this week in Britain about the potential for post offices to replace ATMs as far as the supply of cash to the public is concerned.

There is a heavy irony in post offices now being touted as substitutes for ATMs in the U.K.

Way back in 1967, the Scot, John Shepherd-Barron, invented the ATM because he was frustrated that bank branches were often closed when he wanted cash.

In short, he invented ATMs to provide out-of-hours cash access.

Today, more than 50 years on, we are being told that the 7,000-plus post offices in the U.K. without ATMs — and with limited opening hours — can provide communities around the country with adequate access to cash.

It is patently not realistic.

As just one example of why this is so, consider that all post offices close on Sundays — some are also only open for half a day on Saturdays. So at weekends, the time when most people are enjoying leisure and want to spend cash, post offices are really not available to meet their cash needs.

Why are the British public now being asked to accept service standards that were considered inadequate 50 years ago?

Could it be that there are powerful vested interests who profit from artificially limiting access to cash — and have the muscle to ensure that ATMs disappear from communities around the U.K.?

Interestingly, the other major innovation in the U.K. in 1967 was the Introduction of color television services.

Can you imagine anyone trying to convince the British public today, in 2019, that television services would be improved by reverting to the monochrome transmissions of 50 years ago? Such a proposal would be met with total and utter derision.

Yet that is exactly what we are being asked to accept in relation to cash access.

 

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