UK consumers are paying £140 million a year to withdraw money from cash machines, an increase of 133% on the previous 12 months, according to figures compiled by Nationwide Building Society.
In the run up to the Treasury Select Committee's enquiry into charging cash machines, Nationwide estimates there are almost 20,000 fee-charging ATMs in the UK which equates to 40% of the cash machine network.
If the number of fee-charging machines continues to grow at its current pace, says the building society, it is likely that by next Christmas, there will be more fee-charging machines than free ones. Nationwide also claims that 1600 of the fee charging machines are within 100 metres of a free ATM, disproving the claims of independent operators that their estates cover under-serviced locations.
Stuart Bernau, Nationwide's executive director says: "We welcome the Treasury Select Committee's enquiry and hope a code of practice can be devised which will make it easier for consumers to differentiate between charging and free machines. In the meantime consumers need to be wary when taking cash out of ATMs and boycott fee paying machines whenever possible."