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‘Request a cashpoint’ service to be set up

Customers will be given the opportunity to request a free cash machine in their area if they are encountering difficulties in accessing cash.

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Link, which oversees the country’s ATM network, has earmarked £1m to pay for the installation of cash points in what is known as cash deserts.

 

It added the fund could be expanded if the service had good take-up. Currently, it could pay for 40 to 50 cash points.

 

To request a machine, local communities will be able to apply through their MP, local council, or request help directly from Link for support for free access to cash.

 

Criteria to have a machine installed includes distance to nearest free ATM, availability of a Post Office, site security and that there is a suitable location.

 

Alongside Link’s announcement, banking industry body UK Finance has confirmed it will launch the Community Access to Cash Initiative to help local communities to identify and secure appropriate access to cash and payment services.

 

Last month, the issue of cash deserts was raised when an investigation by consumer group Which? warned that the most deprived areas are at greatest risk of losing free-to-use cash points than affluent ones.

 

Since January 2018, just shy of 8,700 free-to-use cash machines in the UK have closed or started charging fees.

 

John Howells, chief executive of Link, said: “This is an important development which will allow communities to directly contact Link and get things done to help consumers. Link is looking forward to getting the first requests for ATMs so we can help solve access to cash issues across the whole UK.”

 

Stephen Jones, chief executive of UK Finance, said: “The banking and finance industry is committed to ensuring access to cash remains free and widely accessible for those that continue to need it. Yet there is no ‘one size fits all’ approach and only via collaboration across government, regulators, industry, customer groups and communities can this be achieved.

 

“Local cash recycling will play a pivotal role in the sustainability of the system, although we can’t achieve a resilient and sustainable cash landscape on our own. It is vital we are supported by other sectors such as telecoms, retailers and infrastructure providers to assure widespread provision.”

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