Barclays reverses decision to end cash Post Office cash withdrawals

Barclays has reversed a decision to axe cash withdrawals from Post Office branches from January, after a backlash from MPs and consumer campaigners.

The bank had previously announced that customers would no longer be able to make over-the-counter cash withdrawals using their debit cards from Post Office branches from January 8 2020.

But in a statement on Thursday, it said it will now commit to “full participation” in the Post Office’s banking framework.

Other banks and building societies have already committed fully to the three-year agreement to provide everyday banking services through the Post Office.

Barclays Group chief executive, Jes Staley said: “Ultimately we have been persuaded to rethink our proposals by the argument that our full participation in the Post Office banking framework is crucial at this point to the viability of the Post Office network.

“Whilst we have concerns regarding the sustainability of relying on this model in the longer term, and want to work with Government and others to address the problems inherent in it, we recognise that the Post Office is a network valued by many communities in the UK today.

“So we have amended our position, and will now maintain a full service proposition in the Post Office for our customers, including cash withdrawals using a debit card, for the next three years.”

Last week, more than 100 MPs urged Barclays to reverse its decision in a letter co-ordinated by Chris Elmore, Labour MP for Ogmore in Wales.

The cross-party group called for the bank to help end the “cash crisis” facing their constituents.

Around 15 million cash withdrawals were made by Barclays customers through the Post Office last year.

The Treasury Committee previously said Barclays’ move is “hugely disappointing”, adding that “the use of cash cannot be left to wither on the vine”.

Consumer group Which? recently found that Barclays had closed 481 branches – around a third of its network – between the start of 2015 and August 2019.

Which? said MPs had been right to challenge Barclays’ decision.

Barclays has also previously announced that it plans to introduce a cashback scheme from next year involving small businesses, and has pledged not to close branches in remote areas or where it is the last bank in town for the next two years.

Economic secretary to the Treasury, John Glen, said: “I’m pleased that Barclays have decided to continue to offer the full range of banking services across the Post Office network of 11,500 branches.

“This will allow customers to withdraw cash, alongside existing services for depositing cash and cheques, and checking balances at their local Post Office.

“As well as this, Barclays have shown that they are ready to go further by also committing to wider proposals, including protecting the last branch in town for two years and a cashback initiative.

“It is vitally important that we have a model for the Post Office banking framework which is sustainable, now and in the future.

“We welcome Barclays’ commitment to engage constructively on this so we can safeguard access to cash for everyone who needs it.”

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