Westminster seeks action over free-to-use ATMs

MPs are seeking assurances over the accessibility of free-to-use ATMs amid concerns that proposals for the future funding of cash dispensers could see a significant reduction in their numbers.

Free ATMs are important
Free ATMs are important

Nicky Morgan, who chairs the influential Treasury Committee, has written to Sir Mark Boleat, chairman of the UK’s Link network, about a recently-launched consultation on the future level of a fee.

The consultation followed a row which erupted over the interchange fees paid by card issuers such as banks and building societies to ATM operators. The interchange fee funds the free-to-use ATM network.

The consultation plans previously outlined by Link include a reduction in interchange rates over the next four years, from around 25p to 20p per withdrawal.

Link has said the plans will help to retain an extensive network of free ATMs for consumers.

But trade body the ATM Industry Association has warned that “ATM deserts” could be created.

Referring to reports that there may be a significant reduction in the number of free-to-use ATMs, Ms Morgan says in the letter: “This would clearly be of concern to the Treasury Committee, not least given the Committee’s interest in financial inclusion and ATM provision in the past.”