Research from the consumer group Which? has found that 60 bank branches in the UK close every week. The closure of so many branches, combined with dwindling ATM numbers, could leave the 2.7 million UK consumers almost entirely reliant on cash struggling, according to UK Finance. With the rise of online and mobile banking highly publicised as a key contributing factor to the decline of the high street bank and, subsequently, the ATM, are banks doing enough to replicate the services that a large number of people greatly rely on?
The answer is yes and no. Some banks’ mobile applications have started to allow consumers to take photos of cheques to pay them in, and internet and mobile banking do successfully replicate a number of functions that an in-branch teller provides (replacement cards, reporting fraud, etc.), but it doesn’t replace the main function of an ATM – withdrawing cash. While the majority of functions a bank branch offers are transferable, it remains to be seen how banks will address the lack of human interaction and how consumers will react to this in the long term.