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Furore as NatWest and RBS restrict cash machine access

Basic account users blocked from other banks' ATMs

RBS-natwest logos

NatWest and Royal Bank of Scotland have been criticised for restricting cash machine access for holders of their basic bank accounts

NatWest and Royal Bank of Scotland (RBS) have been lambasted for preventing holders of their basic bank accounts from using other banks’ cash machines.

NatWest and RBS basic bank account holders can only withdraw cash from NatWest, RBS or Ulster Bank cash machines in the UK or at the Post Office. The move places RBS and NatWest alongside Lloyds TSB, which already restricts it ‘Cash Account’ holders to using Lloyds TSB cash machines and branches of the Post Office.

Previously, most basic bank account holders were able to use the Link network to withdraw cash.

Which? principal policy adviser Dominic Lindley commented: ‘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.’

  •  To read Dominic’s full analysis of the RBS / NatWest move, and to have your say, visit Which? Conversation

What is a basic bank account?

Basic bank accounts offer most of the usual services available from a standard current account, including a debit card, direct debits, standing orders and cash withdrawals. However, they don’t come with an overdraft facility. As a result, they can be useful for consumers with a poor credit history (or no credit history at all) who find it difficult to access mainstream banking services.

Banks rarely promote their basic bank accounts, as the lack of monthly account fees and the absence of an overdraft facility make them less profitable than other accounts.

For help in choosing the right current account for you, read the Which? guide Finding the best bank account. And check out our Best Rate bank account reviews to find the best deals.

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