Carmarthen East and Dinefwr has the worst access to banks and ATM cashpoints than anywhere else in the UK, according to new figures.

Recent figures confirm that only two banks are now serving the entire area of Carmarthen East annd Dinefwr, after 13 were permanently closed since the start of 2015.

Meanwhile the ATM data shows that between the start of 2018 and early March of this year, the number of cashpoints has dropped from 41 to 26.

The figures have been published following analysis from consumer champion Which?

They highlight Carmarthen East and Dinewr as one of 17 constituencies with particularly poor access to cash as a result of having only three or fewer bank branches and 30 or fewer free-to-use ATMs.

The increasing use of online banking and contactless payments has led to the concern that many people will be left behind and will be unable to access key services.

“While the pandemic has accelerated the move to digital payments, many customers are not yet ready to make that switch,” commented Which? chief executive Anabel Hoult. “These people require protection from an avalanche of ATM and bank branch closures that have left the UK’s cash system at risk of collapse.”

The recent figures suggest that the move towards digital banking could be leading the way towards a cashless society, however many people, particularly the more vulnerable, will find this extremely difficult.

Recent research by the Royal Society of Arts estimates that around 10 million people in the UK would struggle in a cashless society. The research also suggests that the elderly and those in areas with poor mobile or broadband connectivity have suffered most in the move to digital banking.

Meanwhile a bill to protect access to cash was announced as part of the Queen’s Speech in May while the Treasury claims that the new legislation will ensure 'continued access to withdrawal and deposit facilities across the UK'.

“We know that access to cash is still vital for many people, especially those in vulnerable groups,” said economic secretary John Glen. “We promised we would protect it, and through this bill we are delivering on that promise.”

Full details on what will be included are yet to be published.