Cash machines to CLOSE: Thousands of free ATMs could be AXED across UK

Wednesday, January 31, 2018
By Paul Martin

THOUSANDS of free cash machines across the country face closure because of new proposals revealed today, claim experts.

Wed, Jan 31, 2018

ATM network Link has confirmed it will go ahead with plans to cut the fees operators receive from banks when machines are used.

Currently, any customers can use a rival banks’ ATM to withdraw money for free, with the banks shouldering the withdrawal cost.

But banks have been putting pressure on Link, the company which processes ATM charges, to cut the fee and the group said the plan will encourage operators to place machines in more remote areas.

But some in the industry warned thousands of free cash machines could be at risk of being removed or changed to fee-charging, with the possibility of “cash deserts” being created across the UK.

They fear the new system will be unprofitable for operators so they might decide to close down as many as 30,000 machines, especially in rural areas.

Ron Delnevo, executive director of the ATM Industry Association said: “To lose any of them would be a disaster, but we will lose 25,000 to 30,000 from these measures if they are allowed to go ahead, which they should not.”

Gareth Shaw, Which?’s money expert, added: “While Link is claiming it wants to maintain free access to cash, we’re concerned about its ability to do so, not least when it is facing a clear threat from banks to leave the network.

“Link’s plans could still lead to a significant reduction in free-to-use ATMs across Britain, leaving consumers facing an uphill struggle to access the cash they need.

“It’s alarming that these potentially far-reaching proposals appear to have simply been waved through without a thorough public consultation.

“With over two million consumers in the UK reliant almost entirely on cash, it’s vital that the Payment Systems Regulator conducts an urgent market review.”

Under the current system, every time you withdraw cash your bank pays 25p to the not-for-profit ATM provider.

Link revealed the fee it receives will be cut by 1p from July 1 and a further 4p over the next four years.

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