High Streets Initiative · 2 November 2017

High streets threatened by potential loss of thousands of free-to-use cash machines

Built-in ATM machine with blank display on concrete background. Mock up,  3D Rendering
A third of Britain’s free-to-use cash machines are thought to be at risk
Britain’s independent high street business owners could sufferunder new proposals that would see the number of free-to-use cash machines slashed across the UK, leaving consumers with a potential shortage of physical money.

LINK, the UK’s largest cash machine network, is holding a consultation with the 30 banks and building societies it represents over reductions to the intercharge? fee. The fee covers withdrawal costs for consumers and often sees high street banks with the largest number of customers hit with sizeable bills to keep cash points free to use.

The proposals arrive ten months after a row among the network’s members regarding how the intercharge fee was calculated, and have sparked fears that free-to-use cash machines would begin charging or disappear altogether.

The network has defended its plans and claimed any reduction in free cash machines would be in areas where there are currently multiple ATMs very close together.

Responding to the proposals, LINK CEO John Howells insisted that although free ATMs could fall in number, the network remained committed keeping cash flowing across UK communities.

lINK is committed to maintaining an extensive network of free-to-use cash machines. Free access to cash is vital for UK consumers and LINK intends to maintain this for many years to come, he said in a statement.

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Howell’s said the number of free ATMs was at near-record levels, with 80 per cent of the country’s 70, 000+ cash machines operating without charge.

However, the plans have come under fire from the ATM Industry Association (ATMIA), which has warned that consumers could see thousands of currently free-to-use cash points either disappear or begin charging a fee.

Research from ATMIA has suggested that as many as three quarters of transactions made in small convenience stores are still made using cash.


 
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ABOUT THE EXPERT

Praseeda Nair is the editorial director of Business Advice, and its sister publication for growing businesses, Real Business. She's an impassioned advocate for women in leadership, and likes to profile business owners, advisors and experts in the field of entrepreneurship and management.

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