Mapping the availability of cash - a case study of Bristol's financial infrastructure
Authors: Daniel Tischer, Jamie Evans and Sara Davies
Funded by: University of Bristol, School of Management Research Platform Funding
Published by: University of Bristol
Publication date: May 2019
Following years of bank branch closures, we are now observing a similar trend in cash provision more generally through the disappearance of 100s of ATMs each month. As digital payments increase and cash use declines, a future without cash seems almost inevitable. However, in the years, or decades, before this future is realised, it is imperative that those who are digitally or financially excluded are able to continue to access cash.
This is an issue that has received renewed attention of late, with many organisations highlighting the urgency of the issue and the need to protect the UK’s cash infrastructure. Such attention – which has predominantly focused on the aggregate number of ATMs, bank branches and other infrastructure – is much-needed. However, in this report we make the case for a greater focus on the geography of cash access.
To this end, we map in detail the provision of cash infrastructure for the city of Bristol, constructing a new Index – the Availability of Cash Index (or ‘AvCash Index’) – to provide us with a tool to measure access to cash within local neighbourhoods. We also provide some longitudinal insights into recent changes in the ATM network within the Bristol area over the past six months.