UK ATM network Link has set up a £1 million fund from which cash-starved communities can draw in order to install a free cash machine.
Consumers can tap he Community Access to Cash Delivery Fund through their MP, local council, or directly from Link, assuming the community meets the qualifying criteria, which includes distance to nearest free ATM, availability of a Post Office, site security and a suitable location.
The move comes amid widespread concern about the removal of fee-free cash machines and bank branches in small communities.
Earlier this week UK Finance presented a report on access to cash which found that there was no silver bullet to protect consumers living in so-called 'cash deserts'.
It believes that solutions to the access to cash challenge will be found through collaboration beyond the banking and finance industry.
"The challenges and opportunities faced in securing appropriate access to cash and payment services for consumers are shared by the whole of society," stated the industry body. "UK Finance is therefore calling for partners across industries, including telecommunications and ‘Big-Tech’ companies, retailers and payment innovators, to engage on the solutions in the above areas."
Link has announced five new pilot sites in Battle, Bungay, Nuneaton, Tywyn in Wales, and Durness in Scotland, where a new ATM would be directly commissioned. These new ATMs will be funded by a levy on Link’s bank and building society members. More sites that will get a free ATM have already been identified and are Deal, Ebbw Vale, Margate, Middleton, Wilmslow and York.
John Howells, Link CEO says: “This is an important development which will allow communities to directly contact Link and get things done to help consumers. Link is looking forward to getting the first requests for ATMs so we can help solve access to cash issues across the whole UK.”