On 7 December 2023, the FCA published Consultation Paper CP23/29: Access to Cash (CP23/29), setting out its proposals for how it supports access to cash in an increasingly digital world.

The FCA is proposing a new regulatory regime, which would require banks and building societies designated by the Government to assess and fill gaps, or potential gaps, in access to cash. These assessments would need to take into account local factors such as demographics and transport. Where firms identify gaps, they will need to act to address these needs.

These proposals follow the granting of new powers to the FCA by the Financial Services and Markets Act 2023.

Under the proposals, designated firms will be required to:

  • Undertake cash access assessments when changes are being made to cash access services, to understand whether additional services are required to meet local gaps.
  • Respond to requests from local residents, community organisations and representatives to consider, assess and plug gaps.
  • Deliver reasonable additional cash services to fill gaps in provision where assessments show that there is or will be a significant local gap.
  • Ensure they do not close cash facilities, including bank branches, until any additional cash services identified are available. 

The deadline for feedback to this consultation is 8 February 2024. The FCA expects to finalise the rules by Q3 2024.