LINK, the UK’s largest cash machine network, has launched a new scheme guaranteeing every high-street free access to cash, reports consumer association Which?.
The UK has seen a dramatic drop in the number of ATMs, from over 70,000 units in 2015 to 62,000 in 2018, prompting consumer groups, lobbyists and organisations to take action. LINK has taken a step further by announcing, for the first time, that it will directly commission free-to-use ATMs in communities with poor access to cash. Residents living in Battle, East Sussex, Bungay, Suffolk, Hill Top in Nuneaton, Tywyn in Wales and Durness in Scotland can therefore expect easy access to cash in the coming months.
Moreover, LINK will install free-to-use ATMs from the 30 August should a high street be threatened with the loss of its last cash-dispensing machine. The UK’s Post Office branches play an active role in providing easy access to cash – with more than 11,500 offices carrying withdrawal services to customers. But if no nearby Post Office counter can serve a community, LINK will ensure that a machine is made available and is paid for with funding from all the UK’s main banks and building societies.
LINK’s announcement stated, “As the UK continues to evolve from a high-cash economy to one where most payments are made digitally, ATMs – which remain a vital part of the UK’s cash infrastructure – are protected.”
LINK CEO John Howells said the network is determined to defend free access to cash across the UK in the face of very rapidly declining cash use, and that today’s action will protect consumers while industry reforms towards a more sustainable utility infrastructure are underway.