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2020 (1)
Marc Terry

Marc Terry

International Managing Director and EVP at Cardtronics UK
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Financial Inclusion

Designing a less-cash, not cashless, future for the UK

10 Mar 2020

In 2018 LINK, the network which connects all cash machines in the UK, announced plans to cut the fee that banks pay for cash withdrawals by 20%. We warned at the time that this would have a disastrous - and potentially terminal - effect on people’s access to cash across the country. Our warnings were ignored and LINK implemented two 5% cuts in 201...

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UK budget to introduce new laws to protect consumer access to cash

  The current demise of the UK ATM network is a direct result of the interchange cuts implemented by LINK in 2019. This artificial manipulation of the market has resulted in a catastrophic decline in the availability of free-to-use machines across the country. We are now being expected to believe that the answer to our cash access problem is through new, less efficient, and more costly solutions that will do nothing for consumers or retailers. In fact, many of the initiatives currently being promoted by LINK are designed to obfuscate whilst the banks continue to act to making it more and more difficult for consumers to access and use cash. Let’s be very clear, there is nothing wrong with many of the new payment methods, but there is something intrinsically bad about celebrating the reduction in choice that the demise of cash would bring. Consumers have not turned away from cash as a payment option, but the actions taken by LINK and the banks are creating a self-fulfilling prophecy that will end with the UK sleepwalking into a cashless society, and over time this is something we will come to regret. It is time to put a stop to this situation and remind ourselves that the banks and LINK should be acting to serve the consumer. And consumers want to retain the option to pay and be paid in cash.  The best, and quickest way to ensure access to cash is protected is by withdrawing the second 5% interchange rate cut, and allowing the market to return to the delivery of free access to cash for all.