Small businesses at risk from potential loss of thousands of cash machines
UK business owners could soon suffer from a shortage of physical cash, after an industry body announced that 35 per cent of the country’s free-to-use cash machines were under threat.
The ATM Industry Association (ATMIA) made the claim as members of Link? the UK’s cash machine network comprised of high street banks and ATM operators remained in dispute over how the UK’s 70, 000 free-to-use cash points will be funded.
The Link network’s estimated annual running costs of 1bn are currently shared among its 39 members, and the dispute could result in cash machines requiring extra charges, or being closed altogether.?
According to a statement released by ATIMA, fewer cash machines could result in cash deserts? in high streets across Britain. The body warned that towns in the rural South West of England, urban South East of England and Scotland would be hit hardest by the loss of cash points.
Responding to the dispute, MP Andrew Tyrie, chairman of parliament’s Treasury committee, warned that introducing charges on cash machines could have a disproportionate impact on rural areas and poorer urban neighbourhoods.
For small businesses based in the UK’s rural regions, the loss of free cash points would be a further barrier to business development, after HSBC recently announced the closure of 62 local branches in response to the changing banking habits of customers.
Research from the Federation of Small Businesses (FSB) in October 2016 claimed that bank branch closures meant that certain rural areas were literally running out of money, with Post Offices failing to offer a viable alternative to high street banks.
In the report, Gwyn Evans, chairman of FSB North Wales, said: Unlike in urban areas, if a branch closes in rural Wales, the business owner may face a 20-mile or more round trip to bank cash.
With potential customers carrying less cash and relying on electronic payment methods, small business owners could use ATMIA’s warnings as an opportunity to invest in modern cashless payment methods, such as contactless and mobile payments.
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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