Free ATM for towns hit by cashpoint axe
FREE-to-use cash machines could return to areas hit by bank and ATM closures.
Communities will get the chance to request one with £1million available to set up new terminals through cashpoint operator Link.
Applications will be studied on a case-by-case basis, depending on distance to the nearest free ATM, the availability of a post office and site security.
The Community Access to Cash Delivery Fund is part of measures aimed at tackling concerns that it is becoming harder for people to take out cash.
Link said the move builds on its commitment to protect free access to money for every high street.
In August it announced five pilot sites – Battle, Bungay, Nuneaton, Tywyn in North Wales, and Durness in the Highlands –
where a cash machine would be commissioned.
ATMs will be funded by a levy on Link’s bank and building society members. Extra funding could be available. More sites getting a free ATM are Deal, Ebbw Vale, Margate, Middleton, Wilmslow and York. Link
boss John Howells said: “This will allow communities to directly contact Link and get things done to help consumers.”
ATM and bank branch closures have fuelled concerns about access to cash.
Consumer magazine Which? says hundreds of free cash machines vanish every month – with deprived neighbourhoods hit the hardest. Research last month found that the poorest areas had lost nearly 1,000 machines, compared to 223 in the wealthiest areas.
In the 18 months since a new system made them less economic to run, the biggest losses were in Bristol, Manchester, Birmingham and Cardiff. Half of Great Yarmouth’s ATMs charge £2. Vauxhall in London and Nottingham have also been affected. Which? also found that around 3,303 bank branches have closed within the past five years – a third of the network.
Jenny Ross, of Which? said: “It’s clear urgent intervention is needed.”
Hundreds of ATMs have vanished