HALF OF OUR ATMs ARE STILL CLOSED
ABOUT half the 7,200 cash machines that closed at the beginning of lockdown are still out of action.
Many are next to others at bank branches, supermarkets or railway stations, and are closed to help with social distancing. Some are in locations that are still shut.
Others are empty because shops that used to refill the machines with cash from the till no longer accept cash, according to ATM network provider Link.
This sharp reduction has led to a spike in ‘cash deserts’, leaving many vulnerable and elderly people cut off.
John Howells, chief executive of Link, says: ‘There has been a fall in ATM usage of about 40 pc since last year.
‘However, cash is still vital for millions of people and one in three is still visiting a free cash machine every week.
‘It’s vital that we protect free cash access on every High Street.’
But experts fear many ATMs may be closed for good.
As bank branches and ATMs are axed, the City watchdog has ordered banks to do more to ensure customers still have access to cash.
Under new rules proposed by the Financial Conduct Authority, banks should give customers at least three months’ notice of any branch or cash machine closure, and explain what alternative services are available.
They also need to inform the regulator if they want to replace a free ATM with a fee-charging machine.