ONE in seven people in Scotland were left unable to use their debit or credit card due to an IT or system crash in the last year, new research has found.

The study emerged as new Parliamentary moves are being made today (Wednesday) to raise concerns about the rate of cash point closures in Scotland which has shot up in the last year.

In a UK-wide survey, Which? found that 660,000 in Scotland were estimated to have been left unable to use their card due to outages in the last year.

And around one in 12 experienced the issue more than once.

It comes as the Herald revealed the number of cash machines in Scotland has disappeared at a rate of 32 a month in the 11 months to April. There are 6008 cashpoints in Scotland, with 359 ATMs gone over 11 months.

Scotland has seen over 400 bank branches close since 2015, making it one of the worst affected areas in the UK, and often the cashpoints will also go.

READ MORE: One in five cash machines to charge in a year

And last month the ATM Industry Association, the non-profit trade group, whose members include banks such as HSBC, independent ATM operators and payment systems such as Visa, warned that nearly one in five of Scotland's existing free to access cash machines are expected to introduce charges to customers in the next 12 months.


Today (Weds) Which? is hosting a major cash summit - drawing together representatives from HM Treasury, banking and payments giants and leading industry experts - to find a way forward after a major review into access to cash concluded that Britain’s cash infrastructure is “on the verge of collapse”.

Meanwhile at Westminster Moray Conservative MP Douglas Ross has secured a debate raising concern about cash machine closures across his area.

It comes as a row erupted as cash machines in Lossiemouth ran out of cash at the weekend after the closure of a local Bank of Scotland branch.

Locals were having to devise other ways to get their hands on cash, with every other ATM in the town running out of money.

Lossiemouth Community Council is appealing the decision to lose what they say is the last bank in town with the Financial Ombudsman - but are angry at the lack of access to cash.

A Lossiemouth Community Council spokesman said: "It is the first weekend since the Bank of Scotland shut and there is no cash in either cash machine.

READ MORE: More than 40 cash machines shut down every month in Scotland

"The community council is still talking to other providers but meantime this is an absolute disgrace! It is not just residents who suffer it's the businesses who deal in cash."


The spokesman added: "We also continue to lobby parliamentarians about the Access to Banking standards and discrimination which vulnerable people face in rural areas"

Mr Ross says 16 banks across Moray have closed since 2015, and Mr Ross says this is having a bad effect on towns in his area.

"We must try to keep as many local branches open as possible and, while it has taken several months to secure this debate, I wanted the opportunity to challenge the government about their response, particularly if a closure will see the last bank in a town removed," he said.

Which? is calling for the shift to an increasingly digital future to be properly managed and for cash to be preserved while it is still needed, not only for the millions of people in the country who rely on it in their daily lives, but as a much-needed backup when online payment systems fail.

Gareth Shaw, Which's head of money said: “Digital payments have enhanced many people’s lives - but many still rely on cash and all of us risk being shut out of paying for goods and services when technology lets us down.


“Meanwhile, people in Scotland risk being stripped of their ability to access cash through the double blow of widespread bank branch and cashpoint closures.

“The UK government’s commitment to protecting access to cash must see its new strategy group quickly exploring all options – including legislation – to ensure cash is protected for those for whom it is a necessity and as a vital back-up for when digital systems fail.”

According to the study, in the UK half (49%) of those impacted by cash card issues were left unable to pay for goods and services at the point of sale.

And one in ten (11%) of those left unable to use their card or make a payment told Which? they suffered a financial penalty as a result and the same proportion (9%) said their credit score was damaged because they missed a bill or payment.

In June, last year, a Visa system failure left customers across Europe unable to make some purchases.

READ MORE: Visa apologises after 'hardware failure' causes card payment chaos

The company apologised and said it had no reason to believe the hardware failure was down to "any unauthorised access or malicious event".

Its statement came five hours after it had initially acknowledged the problem.

In September, TSB chief executive Paul Pester quit following its ongoing IT migration problems that saw users of online services locked out of their accounts and are still experiencing problems five months later.

READ MORE: TSB internet banking operating at 50 per cent capacity, says boss

Mr Pester was accused of being complacent by MPs from the Treasury select committee the previous June and the Financial Conduct Authority had also accused him of "portraying an optimistic view" of TSB services during the IT meltdown.


In February, it was estimated that customers suffered dozens of digital banking shutdowns last year, according to new figures that reveal the scale of banks' IT problems for the first time.

UK banks began publishing the number of operational and security incidents that have occurred, under a voluntary scheme overseen by the regulator, the Financial Conduct Authority (FCA).

The data reveals major banks typically suffer well over one outage a month.

Barclays reported the most problems, but said many were minor incidents.