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Lloyds backs down on ATM restrictions

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by Jan Harris
Lloyds backs down on ATM restrictions

Following pressure from the Treasury Select Committee, people who hold basic bank accounts at Lloyds TSB will have access to thousands more cash machines from next year.

Basic bank account holders are people who are not eligible to open a standard bank account because they have a poor credit score.

In 2006 Lloyds TSB decided to restrict basic bank account holders to Lloyds TSB machines as part of a cost cutting strategy; the bank incurs fees every time a customer uses another banks’ ATMs.

Royal Bank of Scotland (RBS) also restricts ATM access for its basic account customers – to its own cash machines and those owned by NatWest, Tesco and Morrisons.

However, Andrew Tyrie, chairman of the Treasury Select Committee, yesterday published letters between himself, Lloyds and Royal Bank of Scotland, in which he expresses concern that restricting access to ATMs seems to “target those vulnerable consumers who are most at risk of financial exclusion”.

Lloyd’s change of heart means that from next year Lloyds TSB’s basic bank account customers will be able to use Halifax and Bank of Scotland machines as well as Lloyds TSB’s ATMs, giving them access to 6,600 cash machines in total.

While this will no doubt be welcome news to holders of basic bank accounts, the move falls short of the universal access that Mr Tyrie was asking for.

RBS on the other hand is standing by its decision to limit ATM access for its basic account customers.

Earlier this month it was announced that Halifax is extending the service it offers prisoners with less than one year left on their sentences.

Halifax already offers basic bank accounts to pre-release prisoners in three prisons, and this will be extended to a further 25 prisons, making it the major account provider in the prison sector.

Halifax will also offer prisoners basic financial management training, in partnership with UNLOCK, the national association of ex-offenders.

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News posted: December 2, 2011

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