We’re lucky in the UK to have thousands of cash machines which don’t cost a penny to use, with card issuers covering the cost of automated withdrawals.
Maybe this is just a reward for none of us being stupid enough to get trapped inside the things, but I’m just spitballing here.
However, things could soon be set to change, with cash machine network LINK warning that the number of free ATMs in the country could drop following a consultation.
According to the network, the number of cash machines in the country at present is ‘at near record levels’ – approximately 80% of the 70,000 machines currently in operation are free to use.
It was reported earlier in the year that an impasse between LINK and its members could threaten the future of free-to-use machines, but new proposals follow what the network describes as a drop in demand for cash payments.
New proposals include a reduction in members’ charges (from 25p to 20p per withdrawal) over the coming four years, while ensuring any reduction in ATM numbers will only come in areas where there are already multiple machines.
“LINK is committed to maintaining an extensive network of free-to-use cash machines,” CEO John Howells said.
“Free access to cash is vital for UK consumers and LINK intends to maintain this for many years to come.”
Still, while LINK is playing down the threat to free-to-use machines, the ATM Industry Association (ATMIA) still has its concerns.
Ron Delnevo, ATMIA executive director, warned that ‘thousands’ of free-to-use ATMs could either begin charging or disappear completely.
Delnevo argued that the more than 20,000 independently-operated free-to-use ATM could be threatened by the measures, telling Sky News: “These kind of cuts will make a lot of these services uneconomical”.
If the new measures are approved by LINK members, they could come into force as soon as April 2018.