The UK's Post Office is set to shut 600 of its 2000 ATMs over the next 18 months as it takes ownership of a network of machines currently operated by Bank of Ireland.
Bank of Ireland currently owns and operates 2000 ATMs at Post Office branches throughout the UK but has decided to pull out of the business.
In response, the Post Office has joined the Link network and promised to invest £16 million over four years to maintain the network of free to use machines.
However, it will only operate 1400 commercially viable ATMs once the transfer is complete in March 2022. It will also keep almost 60 low transacting ATMs at locations where the next free to access ATM is a significant distance away.
By mid-2023, all 1400 ATMs will be replaced with new devices, with Cennox contracted for its software solution and managed services. Post Office will also use Vocalink to provide the transaction processing services for Link, Visa, MasterCard and Post Office Card Account transactions.
At sites where there is no longer an ATM, the Post Office says people can get cash over the counter.
Martin Kearsley, banking director, Post Office, says: "In the areas where we have been unable to sustainably operate the existing ATMs, customers can still withdraw cash over the counter free of charge and in a secure manner. Many of our branches are open long hours and at weekends, ensuring continued access to cash."
The UK's 2019 Access to Cash Review found that 17% of the UK population rely on cash, with vulnerable communities, including the poor and those in rural areas, at particular risk from reduced access to cash. The Covid-19 pandemic has further heightened the problem, with many high street businesses spurning cash payments in favour of contactless transactions.