Excellent Progress Made In Financial Inclusion

by : Mark_dawson

Progress is being made towards promoting financial inclusion, it has been claimed.

Speaking earlier today, chairman of the ATM Working Group John McFall and Kitty Ussher, chair of the treasury select committee, have announced that some 337 new free-to-use cash machines are in operation in low-income areas across Britain. Meanwhile, 206 further locations have been earmarked to receive such facilities during the first six months of next year.

A total of 543, it was suggested that the machines will benefit up to 1.2 million Britons who as a result will not have to travel outside of their local area or pay a fee in order to withdraw money. And as a consequence of such facilities, many people could find that they are more able to handle various areas of their spending such as making utility bill payments, meeting mortgage costs or repaying home loans.

Ms Ussher said: "The government is committed to ensuring that everyone has access to financial services and, with the excellent progress made to date, more than one million people in low income areas will benefit from not paying to access cash machines in their neighbourhood. When this initiative is fully realised and all of the free-to-use machines are in place, around 1.5 million low-income Britons will benefit - a fantastic result."

Meanwhile, Mr McFall suggested that the introduction of such cash machines could be playing a crucial part in lessening consumers financial pressures. He said: "The outcomes have been remarkable and the feedback from these communities makes it clear that people really appreciate what's been done here. The new free-to-use ATMs are saving them significant sums of money they could ill afford to spend.

The next step is to ensure that every ATM machine displays clear signs to customers informing them whether the machine is one that charges or is free to use." In turn, Britons - and in particular those on low incomes - making use of non-charging cash machines could discover that they are able to meet numerous monetary demands such as loans, rent and household bills with ease.

The scheme forms part of the government's action plan for overall financial inclusion, which has seen some 135 million pounds invested into promoting access to various money-related services. This is due to see an increase in the availability and awareness of home contents insurance for those households on low salary. In addition, there will be a greater provision of free face-to-face money advice, which could include guidance ranging from comparing loans and drawing up a budget to changing utility providers and selecting a savings account.

Consumers may find that they particularly benefit from free cash machines and other areas of financial inclusion in the weeks leading up to the Christmas period. Earlier this year, research conducted by Cornhill Direct indicated that Britons are to spend some 2,114 pounds this festive season, with a cheap loan one possible way in which to help meet such costs.

Although this figure represents a decrease from the 2,200 pounds recorded in 2005, it is still a significant amount of expenditure. Those particularly concerned about their ability to fund the festive season of their dreams may also wish to consider applying for a low-rate loan as a means of helping to manage spending.