Local bank branch alternatives
Where to access cash, deposit cheques, and get face-to-face advice
Bank branches continue to disappear from high streets around the country. So far this year, 375 have closed permanently – and hundreds more are set to follow. This guide takes you through your options for face-to-face banking and access to cash if your local branch has gone.
Banking options at-a-glance
This guide goes into detail about your different options so you can choose the right one for you. But if you can't get to a bank branch and you're looking for a specific service right now, follow these links to jump straight to the right section:
Option 1: Free ATMs and local shops
If you're looking to withdraw cash and can't get to a local bank branch or Post Office, you have two alternatives:
- Find a free ATM (or cash machine).
- Get cash at the till from a local shop – without buying anything. Under the 'cashback without purchase' scheme, you can request to withdraw any amount from 1p to £50 from your current account at the till in over 1,000 local shops. You don't have to buy anything, and in most cases there's no fee – though Link, the operator of the scheme, says some stores may charge for the service, so check before you go.
Link, the UK's cash machine network, has a free 'Cash Locator' online tool that lets you find where your nearest free cash machines are AND where to find your nearest store offering cash withdrawals at the till.
Type in your postcode or town and the tool will show you all the ATMs in your area, colour-coded by whether you have to pay a fee to use it or not – the green dots represent free cash machines, the purple ones are pay-to-use ATMs, and the orange dots labelled 'CT' are free 'cash at till' options. Here's an example to give you an idea of what to look for:
Option 2: Post Office branches
Customers of nearly all UK banks, including Barclays, Halifax, HSBC, Lloyds, NatWest and Santander, can access the following basic banking services from any of the Post Office's 11,500 branches:
- Cash deposits
- Cheque deposits
- Cash withdrawals
- Balance enquiries
Head to the Post Office website to check what your bank offers and what you'll need for each service – just select your bank from the dropdown list and the available options should appear.
You can also use the Post Office's branch finder tool to locate your nearest and check its opening hours.
Yes, in most cases. The Post Office itself won't charge you any fees, and high street banks won't either. However, some prepaid card providers, such as Cashplus, Optimum and Monese, do charge you to top up your account at the Post Office – so it's worth double-checking with your card provider before you go.
Nearly all major UK banks, including Adam & Co, AIB, Bank of Ireland, Bank of Scotland, Barclays, Cahoot, Coutts, Co-Operative Bank, Danske, First Direct, Halifax, Handelsbanken, HSBC, Lloyds, Metro, Nationwide, NatWest, RBS, Santander, Smile, Starling Bank, TSB, Ulster Bank and Virgin Money.
Two notable exceptions are the app-only banks Chase and Monzo.
Be aware that not all banks support all services (such as paying in cheques or checking your balance) – you can check what your bank lets you do on the Post Office website.
No – you can use the Post Office for banking whenever the branch is open.
Option 3: Banking hubs
Banking hubs are part of a new scheme designed to plug the gap left by the recent swathe of bank branch closures. They operate in a similar way to standard local bank branches, but several banks all share the same facilities.
Reps from major banks can help if you need to talk to someone
Banking hubs offer private spaces where customers can speak to someone from their specific bank. These work on a rotating basis, so there will be staff from different banks available on different days. The following banks are taking part:
- Bank of Ireland UK
- Danske Bank
- Lloyds Bank
- Nationwide Building Society
- Virgin Money
You can also use a banking hub to access your cash – regardless of who you bank with
The hubs have counter services operated by Post Office staff, where you can withdraw and deposit cash whenever the hub is open and regardless of who you bank with.
Is there a banking hub near you?
Currently, there are eight banking hubs in the UK, at the following locations:
|Acton, London||Unit 2, The Oaks Shopping Centre, W3 6RE|
|Brixham, Devon||62 Fore Street, TQ5 8EF|
|Buckingham||Buckingham Library, Verney Close, MK18 1JP|
|Cambuslang, Lanarkshire||158 Main Street, G72 7EL|
|Carnoustie, Angus||63 High Street, DD7 6AD|
|Cottingham, East Yorkshire||121 Hallgate, HU16 4DA|
|Rochford, Essex||38-40 West Street, SS4 1AJ|
|Troon, South Ayrshire||11 Ayr Street, KA10 6EB|
MoneySavingExpert.com founder Martin Lewis cuts the ribbon on the Acton banking hub, June 2023. From left to right: Lord Vaizey of Didcot; Rupa Huq, MP for Acton and Ealing Central; Martin Lewis; Natalie Ceeney CBE, chair of Cash Access UK.
More banking hubs should open soon...
There are plans to open 60 more banking hubs across the UK. The towns and cities they'll be based in have been announced, but the full details of addresses, opening hours and when they'll launch are yet to be confirmed – though it's expected that many should be up and running within the next 12 months.
Cash Access UK, a bank-owned company responsible for the delivery of new hubs, will work with the communities listed to find suitable locations for the hubs, obtain planning permission, refit the properties and get each location working.
Below we've listed the towns and cities where banking hubs are due to open:
- Ampthill, Bedfordshire
- Axminster, Devon
- Barnoldswick, Lancashire
- Barton, North Lincolnshire
- Belper, Derbyshire
- Bramhall, Greater Manchester
- Cheadle, Staffordshire
- Clay Cross, Derbyshire
- Dartmouth, Devon
- Darwen, Lancashire
- Dawlish, Devon
- Downham Market, Norfolk
- Earlestown, Merseyside
- Elland, West Yorkshire
- Great Harwood, Lancashire
- Harleston, Norfolk
- Haslemere, Surrey
- Helston, Cornwall
- Heywood, Rochdale
- Hornsea, East Yorkshire
- Horwich, Bolton
- Kirkby-in-Ashfield, Nottinghamshire
- Knaresborough, Harrogate
- Looe, Cornwall
- Luton – Bury Park, Bedfordshire
- Lutterworth, Leicestershire
- Mablethorpe, Lincolnshire
- Market Rasen, Lincolnshire
- Maryport, Cumbria
- Newton Aycliffe, County Durham
- Oakham, Rutland
- Otley, West Yorkshire
- Pershore, Worcestershire
- Ramsbottom, Lancashire
- Royal Wootton Bassett, Wiltshire
- Shirebrook, Derbyshire
- Shoreham-by-Sea, West Sussex
- Sidmouth, Devon
- Stalybridge, Tameside
- Stapleford, Nottinghamshire
- Syston, Leicestershire
- Ware, Hertfordshire
- Watton, Norfolk
- Welling, London
- Wellington, Somerset
- West Kirby, Merseyside
- Westhoughton, Lancashire
- Withernsea, East Yorkshire
- Ampthill, Bedfordshire
- Abergele, Conwy
- Abertillery, Blaenau Gwent
- Porthcawl, Bridgend
- Prestatyn, Denbighshire
- Risca, Caerphilly
- Treorchy, Rhondda Cynon Taf
- Welshpool, Powys
Carluke, South Lanarkshire
- Crieff, Perth and Kinross
- Cumnock, East Ayrshire
- Forres, Moray
- Girvan, South Ayrshire
- Jedburgh, Scottish Borders
- Kilwinning, North Ayrshire
- Kirkcudbright, Dumfries and Galloway
- Kilkeel, County Down
Option 4: Mobile and 'pop-up' bank branches
Many of the major banks now also provide their own alternatives to traditional banking for those who no longer have access to their local branch.
However, these mobile and 'pop-up' services don't typically offer cash or counter services.
Select your bank from the list below to see what alternative face-to-face banking options it offers.
Barclays runs an educational and support van that enables Barclays and Barclaycard customers in England and Wales to access certain advice and help in their local area at specific times and dates each month. You can check if a nearby town is covered on Barclays' website.
Under the 'Barclays van' service customers can get advice on:
- Buying a new home
- Online banking
- Saving for the future
- Setting up a business
You can also access similar support at one of Barclays' 200 pop-up banking sites, located in spaces such as community centres, libraries and business hubs – find your nearest on the Barclays website.
The bank previously told us it was "on target" to have 70 more pop-ups open in the first half of 2023, plus 10 new 'banking pods' by the end of the summer – these are purpose-built, semi-permanent structures in sites such as shopping centres and retail parks.
However, the Barclays van service and pop-up locations (including the upcoming pods) don't have cash or counter services, so you won't be able to manage your money there. If you need access to these services, you can use a Post Office branch.
Halifax 'community bankers' will visit an area for a short period of time after a branch closes. They'll have a dedicated office space in a local venue for you to chat in private and can offer support with account enquiries.
There's no need to book an appointment in advance – check if a community banker is visiting your area on Halifax's website and then just turn up.
However, be aware that community bankers don't offer cash or counter services, so you won't be able to manage your money with them. If you need access to these services you can use a Post Office branch.
HSBC runs pop-up 'community events' throughout the UK, where a representative from the bank will visit a local area for a morning or afternoon to help with basic banking queries. You can find details of upcoming community events on HSBC's website.
If you have online banking set up, you can get help with making and managing new and existing payments, reporting a lost, stolen or damaged card and depositing cheques up to £500.
However, be aware that you won't be able to access cash at these community events, and you'll need online banking set up in order to access most of the banking services on offer. If you need to withdraw money, or don't feel comfortable using online banking, a local Post Office branch may be a better option.
Lloyds runs a mobile branch service that enables customers in England and Wales to access certain services in their local area at specific times and dates each month. You can check if a nearby town is covered on Lloyds' website.
Some of the services available as part of the mobile branch service are:
- Cash/cheque deposits.
- Managing standing orders and direct debits.
- Paying bills.
- Sending money outside the UK.
- Withdrawing cash.
NatWest runs a mobile branch service that can be found at various locations throughout the year, for up to five days at a time. The service lets you do everyday banking including making deposits, withdrawing cash and paying bills.
You can find out where your nearest mobile branch is, or when it will next be in your area, on the NatWest website.
NatWest customers can also use Royal Bank of Scotland (RBS) branches (the banks are part of the same banking group) for everyday banking, such as cash deposits and withdrawals and paying in cheques – find your nearest RBS branch.
RBS runs a mobile branch service that can be found at various locations throughout the year, for up to five days at a time. The service lets you do everyday banking including making deposits, withdrawing cash and paying bills.
You can find out where your nearest mobile branch is, or when it will next be in your area, on the RBS website.
RBS customers can also use NatWest branches (the banks are part of the same banking group) for everyday banking, such as cash deposits and withdrawals and paying in cheques – find your nearest NatWest branch.
TSB runs 'pop-up' banks in selected community locations across England, Scotland and Wales. There are currently 47 of these – you can check if there's one near you on TSB's website.
At TSB pop-up banks, you can access the following services:
- Help with managing your existing payments, such as Direct Debits.
- Internet and mobile banking registration, forgotten passwords and troubleshooting.
- Reporting lost or stolen cards.
- Non-cash payments to someone you've paid before, up to £10,000.
- Help with general product enquiries.
- Help with managing finances if you've suffered a bereavement.
However, most of the TSB pop-up locations don't have cash or counter services, so you won't be able to manage your money there – the exception is the Nottingham pop-up, which has a counter where you can deposit and withdraw cash. If you need access to cash elsewhere, you can use a Post Office branch.
Option 5: Switching banks
If your local branch is closing, and face-to-face banking is important to you, you might want to consider switching to a bank that does have a local branch nearby – although bear in mind there's no guarantee that it won't close in the future too.
Only one major current account provider – Nationwide Building Society – has pledged not to leave any town or city where it is already based until at least 2026.
See our Best bank accounts guide for our current top picks, including the best bank accounts for savings interest and longer-term rewards, and our How to open a bank account guide for the basics on picking and setting up a new account.
Option 6: Can you bank online or via app?
If you're able to, you may want to consider online or app banking. Many banks will let you deposit cheques, manage your direct debits, apply for credit cards or loans and transfer money all from your computer or phone.
For full details of what services each major bank offers online, and help with setting up internet banking, follow the links below:
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