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RBS customers barred from using rival ATMs

RBS says it incurs a fee each time someone uses a rival ATM, which it is unable to recoup from Basic customers

A decision by Royal Bank of Scotland to prevent its customers from using rival banks’ ATM machines has angered consumer groups who have called it “a kick in the teeth” for vulnerable customers.

RBS said holders of its no-fee Basic account will no longer be able to use rival cashpoints because RBS incurs a charge each time. Basic account holders tend to be poorer customers, unable or unwilling to pay for an account with additional services and functionality. It is believed the move will also affect some Lloyds TSB and NaWest customers.

Marie Burton, financial inclusion expert at Consumer Focus, said: “This is a kick in the teeth for many of RBS’s most vulnerable customers. We would call on RBS to reconsider this move, which will exclude its basic bank account holders from using the majority of the UK’s free cash machine network.

“Although there are still nearly a million people without bank accounts, the banking sector has been working hard to steadily reduce this figure. Short-sighted moves like this will only help to reverse the good work that has been done. People living in rural areas deserted by bank branch closures may not have the option of other ATMs nearby.”

Dominic Lindley, principal policy adviser at Which?, said: “This change will increase financial exclusion as it leaves basic bank account holders at RBS unable to access around 80% of the free cash machines in the UK. These account holders will be inconvenienced and might incur extra costs when travelling to find a cash machine they can use.”

A RBS spokesman said the bank incurred a charge for each ATM transaction, which it could not recover from customers. “All existing account holders will be moved to the new account structure over the next few months,” he said.

“Our Basic account holders will still enjoy free access to one of the largest ATM networks in the UK through RBS, NatWest and Tesco.”

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