Burslem, the mother town of the six towns that amalgamated to create Stoke, became the first town in the UK with a population of over 20,000 to have neither a bank branch nor bank ATM on its high street in 2018. The Burslem community applied because they were keen to explore solutions for local retailers to deposit and withdraw cash, to have access to cash for the thriving night-time economy and to support consumers with budgeting and digital options.
Services that were made available through the pilots:
Local bank transactions – at the Post Office. The local Post Office was refurbished, so that it could offer a better service to support personal banking. This Post Office is still available for customers across virtually all banks to withdraw and deposit cash, deposit cheques, pay bills, and more. Small businesses can deposit their takings, and order and collect floats. Consumers and small businesses can use this service regardless of who they bank with.
Cashback without a purchase. We set up cashback without purchase from a range of local retailers through PayPoint. The decision has now been taken to make this service permanent.
During the pilot we also offered another form of cashback, which is app-based, provided by a company called Sonect. Sonect provided a “Click and Collect” service enabling customers to order the cash they needed using the App and Digital Wallet on their mobile phone, knowing they were guaranteed that their money would be waiting for them when they popped into the local shop of their choice.
Guide to what banks can offer. The banks offer a wide range of services that most people don’t know about. In fact, as we set up the pilots, we had requests for a lot of services – and found that many were already offered. We wrote a short guide to these services.
Getting debt advice, and support to manage money. We worked with SwanBank Church and Number11 to provide support on for customers who needed help with budgeting or debt advice.
Faster deposits for small businesses – We trialled out of hours ‘bag drop’ services in Burslem, which operated longer hours, located in the community and run by NoteMachine. Local businesses could sign up to use the service, and simply deposit cash out of hours.
Cashback for customers In Burslem, we worked with a company called Sonect to offer an app-based solution, where customers could order the cash they need on their app – so that they knew it will be there for them – with participating retailers who could accept the transaction.
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