The ATM, that box which dispenses money without one having to wait in line to get to a human teller is a big help to those who live far from their depository bank. But there is indication that the charge-free cash machines across the UK are fast vanishing. The downtrend in the number of free-use cash machines came following the reduction of fee that banks pay to an ATM installation agency per ATM use.
Why the declining number of free-to-use money machines
The downtrend in the number of free-use cash machines came following the reduction of fee that banks pay to an ATM installation agency per ATM use.
The fee, known as the interchange rate, was cut by ATMs’ overseer, Link. The charge has been reduced to 23p from the previous 25p for each withdrawal.
Consequently, the interchange fee cut has caused conversions of machines to surcharging, from its free-to-use cash machine features. During the first quarter, 1,700 cash machines commenced applying withdrawal charges, consumer lobby group said.
Most of these have been run by Cardtronics, an ATM installation agency. Cardtronics and another ATM installation agency, NoteMachine, are likely to apply charges in more cash machines.
Cardtronics said their surcharge for cash withdrawals has been implemented because Link’s cuts “left them no choice”.
According to Link the move was intended to protect ATM’s network. Fees of cash machines, which are free to use – located 1 kilometer or more from another ATM – has remained the same.
The dwindling number of free-use cash machines has clearly put at a disadvantage those who are dependent on it, especially the elderly and persons with disability who have difficulty doing the commute or driving to the nearest free-to-use ATM station.
There is Hope for ATM Installation Agency Businesses and Other Stakeholders
Regulators are looking to intervene.
The treasury committee of MPs has noted the problem, and PSR or The Payment Systems Regulator (PSR) said it looks for renewed commitments, that Link will commit to ensure spread of free-use ATMs in “broad geographic spread”.
For his part, Link chief executive John Howells stated that Link will ensure people’s free access to needed cash.
This development could be a ray of hope for those affected by Link’s decision of cutting down the interchange fee and the subsequent declining number of free-use cash machines.