The UK's Payment Systems Regulator is promising to take action to protect the availability of free-to-use cash machines across the country after the publication of new figures by network operator Link which show more than 250 machines a month disappearing from the high street.
Link's ATM Footprint Report found that between the end of January and the start of July 2018, the number of free-to-use ATMs fell from 54,500 to 53,200. Although Link's figures show the majority of closures in well-served areas, 76 machines in 'protected' rural areas (ie at least 1 kilometre or more away from another free-to-use ATM) where shuttered.
"Given the public commitments by Link to preserve the broad geographic spread of FTU ATMs across the UK, we are concerned about the closures of protected FTU ATMs," states the PSR. "We have always been clear that we would take action if it is needed. To ensure Link does meet its commitments we will now be developing a Specific Direction which will require Link to fully develop its policies and processes for applying and implementing its commitments and to report to us on a regular basis."
Hannah Nixon, the PSR’s managing director adds: “Link should be in no doubt about the importance of this work. We will continue to work closely with its senior team to ensure these improvements are implemented as soon as possible.
“Our banks also play an important part in this, as they use the Link network to help people access their cash. We are engaging with the banks to seek their renewed commitment to a widespread geographic network of free-to-use ATMs."