Access to cash coverage: PSR and FCA update - autumn 2021

Following our Q1 2021 (January - March) update on access to cash, the PSR and FCA have today (09 November 2021) published the access to cash coverage update Q2 2021 (April - June).

This publication provides a broad overview of the UK’s access to cash infrastructure, including bank, building society, Post Office branches, ATMs and cashback (see 1 below). It is the second in a series of regular updates that will monitor cash access coverage over time, and will inform our ongoing work, including: 

  • the FCA’s supervision guidance on branch and ATM closures or conversions,  
  • legislative work with the Government, and  
  • our engagement with the industry on cash access issues. 

Below we provide some key insights focusing on access to cash coverage (see 2 below), free access to cash coverage (see 3 below) and ATM coverage (see 4 below). More detail on this update and other statistics such as bank and building society branch coverage, accessibility and opening times can be found in the full publication on the FCA website. 

Summary of key insights  

This is an overview of geographical cash access coverage in the UK at the end of Q2 2021.  

The maps produced illustrate that, across the UK, 88.8% of the population currently has access to cash within a 1km radius of where they live. This is a 0.1 percentage point increase when compared to Q1. When considering only free access to cash, the analysis shows that 87.5% of the UK population has free access to cash within 1km of where they live. This is a 0.1 percentage point increase when compared to Q1.   

Comparisons between rural and urban areas across the UK show that, of those living in urban areas, 96.7% of the population have access to cash within 1km, whilst 55% of those living in rural areas have access to cash within 1km. This represents a 0.1 and 0.3 percentage point increase respectively when compared to Q1. 

Overall, we have seen a small percentage increase in access to cash at distances of 1km and 2km. Access has remained similar at 5km distances.   

Coverage of free and paid-for access to cash 

Based on access via the following channels – free or pay-to-use ATMs, bank, building society, and Post Office Branches – compared to where they live, we estimate: 

  • 88.8% of the UK population is currently within 1km of access to cash 
  • 95.7% of the UK population is currently within 2km of access to cash 
  • 99.7% of the UK population is currently within 5km of access to cash 

To note:

  1. This quarter we have supplemented this information with data on cashback vendor locations.
  2. Brick-and-mortar and mobile bank and building society branches, free and charging ATMs, and the Post Office network
  3. Brick-and-mortar and mobile bank and building society branches, free ATMs, and the Post Office network
  4. Free and charging ATMs

Areas of the UK with access to cash within [1, 2, 5, 8, and 16 km]

In urban areas, we estimate: 

  • 96.7% of the UK population is currently within 1km of access to cash 
  • 99.8% of the UK population is currently within 2km of access to cash