Free ATM for towns hit by cash­point axe

Daily Express - - NEWS - By Vicky Shaw

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.”

Pic­ture: PA

Hun­dreds of ATMs have van­ished

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