ATM Closures — [Mr Philip Hollobone in the Chair]

Part of the debate – in Westminster Hall at 9:30 am on 4th December 2018.

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Photo of Ged Killen Ged Killen Labour/Co-operative, Rutherglen and Hamilton West 9:30 am, 4th December 2018

I beg to move,

That this House
has considered the effect of ATM closures on towns, high streets and rural communities.

It is a pleasure to see you in the Chair, Mr Hollobone. I and other hon. Members on both sides of the House have been raising the closure of ATMs and its impact on our towns, high streets and rural communities for some time. The issue is more pressing than ever. In November 2017, LINK, the ATM membership body that sets the funding for free-to-use ATMs, began consulting on proposed cuts to the funding mechanism known as the interchange rate fee—a fee paid to the ATM operator, by the bank or company that issues a consumer’s bank card, when cash is withdrawn. Prior to LINK’s reductions, that fee was 25p. In its consultation, LINK proposed reducing the fee to 20p through four rounds of cuts beginning on 1 July this year and ending in January 2021, although the third cut was cancelled and the fourth has been put under review.

From the beginning, LINK accepted that those changes would lead to ATM closures. In its analysis and consultation documents, it stated that it expected a decline of between 1% and 11% in free-to-use ATMs, but that it was confident that there would be a reduction only in areas with a high concentration of free-to-use ATMs, such as cities. However, the number of closures has been far higher —approximately 250 per month—since LINK announced its consultation. Operators such as NoteMachine and Cardtronics say they expect to lose thousands of machines each, and new installations have been put on hold.