Link plan to cut cash machine fees will harm customers, says Which?

Vanishing cash machines Has your community lost access to ATMs

Vanishing cash machines Has your community lost access to ATMs

CHANGES to the UK's cash machine network could leave hundreds of remote and rural areas without any access to cash, Which? has warned.

And it's anxious that plans being considered by Link, which runs the UK's cash machine network, could lead to a "mass closure" of ATMs across the country.

There are more than 70,000 cash machines in the United Kingdom, with around 80 per cent being free to use.

Gareth Shaw of Which? said: 'Reducing the free-to-use ATM network would hit consumers who rely on access to cash machines hard.

The group said in a report that it was "concerned that Link's..."

Which? is anxious that proposals from Link - the UK's largest cash machine network - to lower its fees by 20% could lead to mass closures of free-to-use ATM machines in struggling rural communities that are already feeling the impact of the retreat from the high street by the nation's largest banks.

'The financial regulator must intervene to avoid this situation getting worse'.

He said that those hit hardest would not be busy high streets, but ATMs in rural communities.

Consultation plans previously outlined by Link include a reduction in interchange rates over the next four years, from around 25p to 20p per withdrawal.

"We welcome the research produced by Which? and will review all of the areas that it has identified and take action if there is inadequate free ATM provision".

When customers withdraw money from a free-to-use ATM that is not provided by their bank, that person's bank pays the cash machine operator an "interchange" fee, which is now about 25p per withdrawal.

He said: "The UK has one of the largest free-to-use ATM networks anywhere in the world, and the number of free ATMs is at an all-time high and rising".

Link's independent board has previously said that it will protect all free-to-use ATMs which are a kilometre or more from the next nearest free-to-use ATM.

"Link is always looking for ways to improve the network, and extend our Financial Inclusion Programme, which today subsidies ATMs in over 1,000 less affluent and rural communities".

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