The Co-op Group is to host shared banking kiosks from OneBanks at three of its stores in Scotland.
OneBanks is a community banking service which offers banking services to people in areas where there are no longer any bank branches or want face-to-face services because they have been left behind by the move to digital. It means people can access banking services, no matter who they have a bank account with.
Services are already on offer at the Group’s Denny store, in Falkirk, and a new kiosk at its convenience store in Kilwinning, in the west of Scotland, will enable customers to deposit and withdraw notes and coins, and manage payments for utilities and other bills.
An additional kiosk in Lochgelly, Fife, is also planned for the coming weeks.
The Kilwinning trial will also offer OneBanks the opportunity to roll out an updated kiosk design which is wheelchair compatible, with team members equipped and trained to support those who are hard of hearing through the SignLive app.
Kilwinning will also test out a new facility, developed in partnership with G4S, which means customers can deposit coins as well as notes, as well as manage payments for utilities and other bills. The facility is equipped with a touch screen which also allows customers to purchase goods and services from online providers such as Amazon using cash, and receive change in coins.
Mark Matthews, director of innovation and forma at the Group, said: “Co-op is committed to connecting communities, making a difference locally and operating at the heart of local life. We are working with partners to develop added services and choice conveniently, finding innovative ways to expand access to products and services locally, and create a compelling offer to serve our members and customers in our communities.”
The OneBanks’ shared branch concept received a boost in May when UK Finance and the largest retail banks and building societies launched the Access to Cash Action Group, examining ways that businesses and individuals can continue to use cash for everyday banking. As part of its existing co-operation with the banks’ Community Access to Cash Pilots, OneBanks is providing data to feed into the design of possible models that will meet that objective.
OneBanks’ expects enthusiastic take-up of its services in Kilwinning, where the last bank branch closed in 2018, and will offer extended opening hours. Duncan Cockburn, OneBanks’ Founder and CEO, said: “Around 50 bank branches a month are closing and have been for the last six years. Thanks to the Co-op, who share our belief in the importance of bringing face-to-face banking back to the community, we are now able to roll out our second kiosk which will offer a wider range of services, all with the same human touch people value.“
Services are provided free to customers, whichever bank they use. OneBanks says the Denny kiosk has proven popular with small businesses because it has enabled them to avoid a round trip of nearly 15 miles to their nearest open bank branch to bank their cash takings.