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Hundreds of free ATMs closing each month

The number of free-to-use cash points fell two percent across the UK in the first half of 2018, according to data from network co-ordinator LINK.

Between the end of January and the start of July 2018, the number of free-to-use ATMs reduced from 54,500 to 53,200, a fall of 1,300 or two percent.


Link said the closures are “in line” with its impact assessment on the effect of changes in interchange published at the start of the year. This estimated that the reduction in the size of the network, as a result of the interchange reduction, would be up to 11 percent over a four-year period.


It cited the adoption of new payment methods is reducing the demand for cash and therefore ATM withdrawals.


“The ATM deployment market is responding by reducing the number of free ATMs independently of the interchange reduction,” Link said.


The Payment Systems Regulator (PSR) said it is “concerned” about the closures and added it would “take action if it is needed”.


Free-to-use ATMs continue to play a vital role in helping people access their money," the regulator said.


Hannah Nixon, the PSR’s managing director, said: "The requirements we intend to place on Link will help ensure that Link achieves their commitment to protecting the geographic spread of free-to-use ATMs across the UK."


John Howells, chief executive og LINK said: “Consumers are continuing to switch from cash to alternative payment methods, and ATM volumes are falling six per cent year-on-year. Given this backdrop, it’s critical we protect cash access for those who rely on it and maintain a comprehensive network of ATMs that’s spread right across the UK. The report today is part of our commitment to monitor the situation on the ground and do whatever it takes to ensure people continue to have the free access to cash the want.”

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