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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. Government will continue to engage with industry to ensure that widespread free access is maintained.
The Payment Systems Regulator (PSR), which Government set up as an independent regulator 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 work on the impact that changes may have. The PSR has recently published a summary of their work to date, which can be found at https://www.psr.org.uk/psr-focus/the-UK-ATM-network.
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.
LINK, the main scheme behind the UK’s ATM network, has assured us and the PSR 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 has announced plans to bolster its Financial Inclusion Programme, which ensures the provision of ATMs in certain areas where demand would not otherwise make one viable. LINK has also committed to protecting all free-to-use ATMs which are a kilometre or more from the next nearest free-to-use ATM, and to ensuring that any community that loses ATM access because of a branch closure has a free ATM provided.
In addition, LINK will set up publicly available monitoring on its website of every area of the country showing free ATM availability, and highlight any areas where free ATM availability is lost.