The Community Access to Cash Pilots came to an end on 31 October 2021 and the full report has now been published. The experiences of the pilot communities helped inform the work of the Cash Action Group – supported by the major banks, consumer groups, Post Office and LINK. In December 2021 the Cash Action Group announced a new approach to keeping cash accessible in the UK.


Background to the Community Access to Cash Pilots

The Community Access to Cash Pilots was an independent initiative supported by the major banks, consumer groups, and groups representing small businesses. We supported eight communities across the UK to trial and test scalable solutions to help keep cash sustainable. The results of the pilots will be detailed in our final report (due end of 2021) and will be used to inform regulators and industry alike so that cash can remain a viable mode of payment for consumers across the UK, and so that small businesses are able to continue to accept and bank cash.

Pilot communities were selected by an independent board, chaired by Natalie Ceeney CBE, who led the Access to Cash Review, and supported by representatives from industry, small business and customer groups.  Applications were assessed against two main criteria; the strength of the local leadership willing to lead the work, and the need for innovation in cash access in their community. Twenty-three communities applied for the scheme, of which eight became pilots across a range of communities across the UK.

The pilots trialled a wide range of ideas in different locations, including new ‘Bank Hubs’, which provided basic banking services including counter services run by the major banks and the Post Office, and dedicated rooms where customers could see community bankers from their own bank. Other ideas piloted included cashback from local shops, automated deposit taking machines for small business to deposit their takings, digital services to make it easier for people to get cash and manage small change, and new ATMs. Please click the links for full details of the services that were on offer to individuals and to businesses.

Covid-19 challenged the development of the pilots, but it also allowed more time to plan with the local communities. The pilots started delivering their various services from mid-December 2020, and all pilot services were up and running by April 2021. The pilots ran until the 31 October 2021.