Link network cuts ATM fees

02 February 2018

Cash machine network operator Link has confirmed that it will reduce the interchange fees, which fund the free-to-use ATM network, by 5p over the next four years.

Link said its decision is in response to new data which showed the current incentives were driving ATM deployers to focus on city centres – 80% of free-to-use ATM are now within 300 metres of another free-to-use machine, it claimed.

The ATM operator said it believes new incentives are needed to strengthen and increase the geographical coverage of ATMs across the UK.

John Howells, chief executive of Link, said: “Link is committed to protecting free access to cash. The UK has a near record number of ATMs, yet the recent growth has led to the majority of these being placed in busy areas where there simply is no need for a new ATM.

“The combination of a reduction of the interchange, with the significant strengthening of the Financial Inclusion Programme, will begin to rebalance the network, making sure we protect and install new ATMs in locations that really need them.”

Throughout Link’s consultation process the Treasury Select Committee have raised concerns about the impact that reducing interchange fees will have on local communities’ access to cash, especially in isolated areas, as has the Association of Convenience Stores (ACS).

James Lowman, ACS chief executive, said: “Banks have been cutting back their own branch networks, and now they are reducing the interchange fees that fund the network of ATMs provided by retailers and private companies in places that banks have abandoned.  We are concerned that this will lead to a reduction in the number of ATMs, and their reach and accessibility for all types of communities.

“We are not convinced that the measures to support isolated ATMs go far enough, and we will be monitoring closely the impact of the reduction in interchange fees on cash machines hosted by our members.”

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