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Just where does the Treasury get its figures from?

Pravda Central is agog at an initiative to combat 'financial exclusion' by siting "non-charging ATM cash machines in low-income areas".

It seems to reckon that (and spot the sleight of hand here) "The free cash machines already in use are enabling over 260,000 residents in low-income areas to access cash more easily, with a further 822,000 standing to benefit from the confirmed free cash machines still to come on stream". And all this from 600 machines. So circa 1800 per cash machine. Or each machine serving a round three square miles, based on an average population density of 629 people per square mile . I suspect that they just hit on a figure of a million (because it sounds impressive) and then added 82,000 to make it appear more credible.

Being a cheapskate, I prefer to avoid charging ATMs, but will behave in an economically rational manner when faced with a need for cash - I will pay a fee rather than walk half an hour up the road to find another one. Time being money and so on. What this also fails to deal with is that the most 'financially excluded' do not have bank accounts, and therefore will not have cards with which to make withdrawals. If they do have cards, then doubtless they will also have chequebooks, Switch cards and the like, so what is really being written about is a proposal to make things a little more convenient for some rather than delivering corn to Egypt. Meanwhile, doubtless post office closures will continue, and rural areas will be ignored as this initiative is focused on aggregate total inconvenience, rather than degrees of individual inconvenience. So do not expect any cash machines to be based in lighthouses.
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Anonymous sir s. rushdie said... 12:04 pm

Yet again the idea that htere's lots of money to be made from the underclass but the mighty banks are too stupid to cotton on. So how do the banks make such stonking profits? They must know at least a little about banking.  

Blogger Mr Eugenides said... 12:27 pm

Now, maybe I'm just being dim, but surely the issue of "social exclusion" is not so much the £1.50 charge for withdrawing your meny, but rather the lack of any money to withdraw in the first place?  

Blogger Ed said... 12:45 pm

I think it's only a matter of time before the whole "free banking" edifice is pulled down.

The government are attacking bank charges and cross subsidy from every direction. Sooner or later two of the big banks will call time on "free" current accounts and the rest will gleefully follow.

The consensus that banks are allowed to charge above cost for some things in return for providing a free account has been broken.  

Anonymous nomad said... 1:12 pm

Ed: Should that come to pass - and I agree with your general thrust - might the quid pro quo be a rather more realistic rate of interest on the cash left in the account than the insulting (and taxable!!) 0.1% pa as at present?  

Blogger Ed said... 1:15 pm

One would hope so - although I can imagine different "products" being available on the market some with better rates and higher charges and vice versa.  

Blogger Croydonian said... 1:27 pm

An interesting sidetrack.

I think that part of the reason why the clearing banks provide such diabolically poor service is because we are prepared to put up with it because it is 'free'.  

Blogger Caroline Hunt said... 2:12 pm

The people of Leyto get absolutely screwed by cash points. There are no non-charging cash points within the entire high street area and only one of the shops (that I've managed to find) will let you pay with a switch card so you are forced to pay the £1.50 charge unless you have the forethought to take money out when you arent there. Bermondsey is much the same. Both these areas are filled with low income families. Of course within zone 1 you would be hard pressed to find a cash machine that does charge you for taking money out.

Surely the banks would do better screwing rich people out of money?  

Blogger Croydonian said... 2:19 pm

Missing an 'n'? Makes it sound a lot more exotic...

A few months ago I was in 'mania's neck of the woods, and finding a working cash point on Finsbury Park Road was murder. Mind you, the whole place seemed like one enormous murder mile.

If I get a map of the new machines, I'll pass it on.  

Blogger Ed said... 2:22 pm

Surely the banks would do better screwing rich people out of money?

Ahh but the "rich" tend to be more aware of where their money goes than the "poor". Whether this is cause or effect is a whole other debate.

I rarely use cash points, tending to rely on paying by switch. But luckily there is a machine at Tesco and at the second closest tube station so when needs must...  

Anonymous ratu sir s. rushdie said... 4:21 pm

Diabolical service? I'm always baffled by that. I've bin with HSBC for 20 years without problem (mo mantai, as they say in HK).
Why am I being left out?  

Blogger Caroline Hunt said... 5:30 pm

Ah yes Leyton would make more sense than Leyto.

Ed I too like to rely on switch but being a smoker unfortunately means cash is a necessity.  

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