'We will hold Link to account over ATMS', Government pledges

01 March 2018

The government will hold cash machine network Link to account on its commitment to do “whatever it takes” to protect the broad geographic spread of ATMs, the exchequer secretary Robert Jenrick told Parliament today (1 March).

Link confirmed at the end of January this year that it would be reducing the interchange fee for card transactions – paid by the banks to the ATM providers – from 25p to 20p over the next four years.

Jenrick told Parliament: “We set the PSR [Payment Services Regulator] up in 2015 with a specific statutory objective to ensure that the interests of the users of payment systems – not those of the banks – are promoted, with robust powers to enforce that.

“We expect the PSR to step in and act if needed. I have spoken to the PSR and to Link, and the PSR understands the importance that the government place on free access to cash, and the strength of feeling in Parliament and the country.”

The Association of Convenience Stores’ (ACS) 2017 Local Shop Report shows that 58% of stores in the convenience sector have a cash machine, of those 45% of stores provide a free to use cash machine, while 13% have charged cash machines.

ACS chief executive James Lowman said: “We welcome the reassurance from the minister that the cut in interchange fees will be carefully scrutinised and that the Payment Services Regulator will intervene if the users of free to use ATMs are affected.

“Free to use ATMs are essential, providing access to cash for customers and facilitating spending in local shops.”