How the Pilots aimed to help individuals.
People living in one of the eight pilot communities could test and use new services to support their cash and banking needs. These services ran from April 2021 until the end of October 2021.
The pilots were thoroughly evaluated, and as a result of that evaluation, cashback has already been rolled out nationally through PayPoint, and the two Bank Hubs in Rochford and Cambuslang have been extended until at least April 2023.
The Cash Action Group has, in parallel, worked to determine which services they would support to be part of the future UK cash infrastructure.
Services piloted were:
Withdrawing or depositing cash, over a counter, with space and privacy. People in all communities told us that, at times, they need an indoor, private and safe space to do their banking. It also needed to be local.
In Rochford and Cambuslang, we set up new ‘Bank Hubs’ which, like a bank branch, have a counter service to help consumers do all of their basic banking, including cash withdrawals and deposits. They are jointly run by the banks and the Post Office, but don’t accept parcels – they are dedicated to supporting banking, and have been designed to offer privacy and space. These Bank Hubs will continue to be available until at least April 2023.
In Millisle, Burslem and Denny we refurbished the existing Post Office facilities to make them easier to use and a little more private, so that they could support banking more effectively.
In Lulworth Camp and Botton Village we set up new, mobile Post Office facilities which supported basic banking, cash withdrawals and deposits. The Lulworth Camp facilities were just for those working and living on site, but the Botton facilities were open to the whole of the wider community.
In Denny, we also worked with a new service, called OneBanks, which offered consumers and businesses free access to their own bank accounts in a secure location, with a fully staffed and trained team in the Co-Op, using the latest technology and biometrics it offered secure transactions including cash deposits and withdrawals, payments and transfers
Face to Face banking support from a community banker.
In Rochford and Cambuslang, in our new ‘Bank Hubs’ the major banks continue to provide support to their customers, face to face. Each bank offers their own services, in their own way.
Support to get online banking and work digitally.
Not everyone finds digital banking easy or straightforward. In Rochford, Cambuslang, Burslem, Hay-on-Wye, Denny and Millisle we offered practical support to help people use digital banking and payments.
A guide to what banks can offer.
All banks offer a wide range of services that most people don’t know about. In fact, as we set up these pilots, we had requests for a lot of services – and found that many were already offered. We wrote a short guide to these services.
Cashback. In all of the pilot areas there were limited places to get cash – which we wanted to change. We wanted people to be able to ask for cash – i.e., money from their own account – from local shops, using their debit or credit cards. We trialled three different approaches to cashback, to see what works in different areas.
In Cambuslang, Hay-on-Wye, Burslem and Denny, a number of retailers offered cashback – without people needing to buy anything. The retailer received a small fee for offering cashback, making this a valuable service for consumers as well as retailers. People could get any amount of cashback, whether a round number like £10, or just what was needed, such as £6.73 and this service is still available.
In Hay-on-Wye, Rochford, and Millisle a wide range of retailers offered cashback. For these sites people did need to buy something, but it could be as low as 1p – and participating retailers had a supply of products costing just 1p. Retailers were paid to offer this service as part of the pilots.
And in Burslem, we trialled a third approach, which was app-based, provided by a company called Sonect. The Sonect service gave customers the freedom to order the cash they needed using the App on their mobile phone, even before leaving home, knowing they were guaranteed that their money was waiting for them when they popped into the local shop of their choice.
Managing small change. One of the challenges with managing cash is all the small change. We were told that it was a hassle for shopkeepers, as they needed to keep getting more change from a bank and for customers as it filled pockets or ended up going to waste.
In Rochford, Millisle and Denny we trialled a new solution, run by a British company called Shrap that enabled people to receive their change on a card or mobile app when paying with cash. The service was totally free and worked like a ‘virtual coin jar’ where change could be saved and spent anonymously with businesses and friends.
Getting debt advice, and support to manage money. Throughout some of these pilots we worked with local charities and agencies to make it easier for people to get support.
In Burslem, we worked with Number 11 (http://number11.org.uk/ ), a local charity to support consumers to manage their money and understand how to budget better. We also offered similar services to this through our Bank Hubs in Rochford and Cambuslang, and also in community hubs in Millisle, Hay-on-Wye and Denny.
ATMs. Through the pilots we made sure that every one of the communities had free-to-use ATMs available for the community to use.
This included new ATMs in Lulworth Camp and Botton Village, and the change of a pay-to-use ATM to free-to-use in both Cambuslang and Rochford. We also made sure that existing ATMs were working well – including improving the accessibility and lighting where required.
Find out what was offered in each community: