Daily Mail

HALF OF OUR ATMs ARE STILL CLOSED

- Business · Financial Technology · Finance · Financial Conduct Authority · Interbank Networks

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.

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