The Royal Bank of Scotland announced plans to open a cashless bank branch in London.

According to a report by The Telegraph, the bank will not be equipped with a front-desk cashier service or ATMs, meaning clients will not be able to make deposits or withdraw money at the branch. It will however, assist its customers with other banking-related needs such as appointments to open different forms of savings accounts including ISAs, as well as apply for mortgages. 

The branch will also offer customers with the possibility of setting up video banking appointments, whereby they get to speak to the respective bankers via video chat. The bank will also be equipped with a presentation space which can be used for seminars. NatWest, the RBS’s sister company, had already opened three similar branches, with the difference that they all carry ATMs, meaning they are not completely cashless. 

The RBS believes that launching a branch without cash services could be a cost-effective way of providing a physical establishment for clients for dealing with more elaborate needs and services. When it comes to opening more complicated types of accounts, UK consumers prefer opting for physical branches to deal with their needs. According to a survey by Deloitte, 58% prefer branches for applying for mortgages, while 56% would rather have a physical touchpoint to open a wealth management account. 

Consumers would also rather opt for branches when it comes to handling other major issues. Over four in 10 customers who contested a transaction or wanted to file a complaint opted for a customer contact canter – found to be the most popular outlet, while branches came in at second place, Deloitte’s survey showed. The aim behind RBS’s cashless branch is to provide clients with an outlet to handle any of these or more complex issues. The bank is also looking to save money via this new project, by avoiding personnel costs for front-desk cashier staff and offering video banking for particular services. 

During the period stretching January 2015-August 2019, an overwhelming 3,303 bank branches closed their doors – roughly amounting to 34% of the overall branch network in the UK, data from Which? revealed. Roughly 3,000 ATMs also went missing in Britain during the last six months of 2018, while a further 1,250 free cash machines shifted to a charging fee in March 2019, as per Which? figures.