On October 2, LINK, announced the launch of a new Community Access to Cash Delivery Fund so consumers can request a free ATM when it’s needed. Local communities apply through their MP, local council, or request help directly from LINK. The criteria to access the funding include distance to nearest free ATM, availability of a Post Office, site security and that there is a suitable location. LINK will fund the new ATM directly.
20 new ATMs are in the process of being commissioned. This exceeds the number of ATM closures in 2019: between January and September the number of machines dropped by 1,714. Given the interest from communities, banks and building societies have agreed up to a further £4 million in additional funding for ATMs in 2020.
Many of the requests have come from very small communities where there is limited retail activity and where an ATM may not always be viable. Therefore, this week, LINK will be publishing a list of areas containing four shops or less with no free access to cash within 1km via either an ATM or a Post Office. To enable anyone with an interest in the issue to use the data, LINK will also be publishing the list of areas in LINK’s Financial Inclusion Programme that do not have a free-to-use ATM or Post Office. The lists can be found here.
LINK CEO John Howells said: “LINK is delighted with the response to the community initiative. New ATMs are beginning to open and we have many more planned for the New Year. Many of the requests have been made in locations where an ATM may not be viable. By publishing this data, we hope it will be helpful to organisations who are considering developing new innovations other than ATMs to provide access to cash such as the work by PayPoint, the retail terminal specialist, looking at the provision of cash directly from retailers’ tills.”