Concerns have been raised about access to cash in Forres after the High Street post office confirmed it was planning to remove its ATM.
The Moray town is already facing having fewer bank machines with the TSB branch due to close in April.
Now the Post Office has confirmed it is also planning to take away its own hole in the wall next month – a move described by the local postmaster as “very short sighted”.
Moray MP Douglas Ross has urged the operator to reconsider.
However, the Post Office has stressed banking services will remain available inside the Forres branch during opening hours after the ATM has been withdrawn.
Do people still need access to cash?
Studies done by cash machine operator Link found the value of withdrawals fell by 36% during the first year of the Covid pandemic.
However, the operator says more than five million adults across the UK continue to rely on physical money – making free access to cash “vital”.
Moray MP Mr Ross has written to the Post Office to urge bosses to keep the town centre hole in the wall to support local businesses and shoppers.
He said: “This is yet another nail in the coffin of our community access to banking facilities and cash and I hope they will listen to local concerns and keep the ATM in place.
“In November the TSB bank announced that they were closing their branch on Forres High Street and advised customers to make full use of the services located at Forres post office, including the cash machine.
“We could now see both of the ATMs at the west of Forres removed which will clearly have an impact on local people and businesses.”
‘I wonder where it is going to end’
Forres postmaster Paul McBain says round-the-clock access to cash on the High Street is still valued by his customers.
He said: “This decision by the Post Office is very short sighted. I take pride in the fact that I am able to provide a wide choice of services to the public here in Forres and having an ATM that was accessible 24/7 was part of that service.
“With the TSB closing down, they advised their current customers and others to make full use of the services my team and I provide here.
“Now the Post Office have said they want to close down this ready access to cash, I just wonder where it is going to end.”
A Post Office spokesman said: “We understand the concerns raised by the postmaster for Forres and are in contact with him over the situation.
“Thanks to our agreement with over 30 banks and building societies, TSB customers are able to withdraw cash over the counter for free. They are also able to deposit cash and cheques and make balance inquiries at the branch.”