The Government recognises that widespread free access to cash remains extremely important to the day-to-day lives of many consumers and businesses in the UK, and will continue to work with industry to ensure that this access remains.
The Government has not made any formal assessment of the potential effect of LINK’s proposals to change the interchange fee rate on North Down or Northern Ireland. However, the Payment Systems Regulator (PSR), which Government set up in 2015 with a statutory objective to ensure that the UK’s payment systems work in the interests of their users, is monitoring developments within ATM provision, and is conducting ongoing internal work on the impact that changes may have. The PSR has committed to using its powers to act should any of the firms it regulates behave in a way that conflicts with its statutory objectives.
The Government is engaging regularly with LINK and its members, and they have assured us that industry is committed to maintaining an extensive network of free-to-use cash machines, and to ensuring that the present geographical spread of ATMs is maintained. LINK intends to bolster its Financial Inclusion Programme, which ensures the provision of ATMs in areas of deprivation, where demand would not otherwise make one viable, and has also committed to protecting all free-to-use ATMs which are a kilometre or more from the next nearest free-to-use ATM.