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Brighton Journal | 22nd January 2020

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Cash Machine Fees in Residential Areas Hitting Low Income Families

Cash Machine Fees in Residential Areas Hitting Low Income Families
Georgia Hansen

Those living in the more residential parts of Brighton have a higher chance of being forced to pay a fee for withdrawing money. In the heart of the city, cash machines rarely charge for withdrawal, with the extra fees mostly affecting those who are of lower income households in the outskirts.

The city isn’t completely free of cash machine charges, however, as those arriving and leaving by train will be stung by fees if they take money out at Brighton Station.

Councillor Martin Osborne, Green Councillor for Hollingdean and Stanmer, has called on the Labour council to find a way to prevent financial exclusion and get rid of the ‘poverty premium’ in Brighton. He says many in these areas struggle to find any free financial services because they have less access to banks, credit, or financial advice. He explains:

“Overall, it is estimated that the average low income household will pay out an extra £490 in additional charges on products and services. Worse still, for some people this figure can rise to as much as £1,190.”

Ways to reduce this, as outlined in Councillor Osborne’s letter to the Policy and Resources Committee, include identifying cold spots, filling them with free ATMs, and working with city stakeholders to get rid of current ATM charges.

There is a way this can be done, says Osborne:

“On top of lobbying for more support, councils also now have the opportunity to bid for money to improve accessibility of free cash machines in areas that need them – thus reducing at least this punitive charge.”

The ‘contactless’ trend and other forms of cashless payment are another cause for concern for some demographics, says The Green Party, as these methods risk alienating and excluding those who have not embraced them, such as the elderly.

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