The Government recognises that widespread free access to cash remains important to the day-to-day lives of many consumers in the UK. However, it is not appropriate for the Government to comment on individual contracts relating to ATM charges.
The Government is engaging, and will continue to engage, with the regulators and industry on this important topic. The Government-established Payment Systems Regulator (PSR) is closely monitoring developments in ATM provision. The PSR regulates LINK, the scheme which runs the UK’s ATM network, and has used its powers to hold LINK to account over LINK’s commitments to preserve the broad geographic spread of the ATM network.
LINK has put in place specific arrangements to protect free-to-use ATMs more than 1 kilometre away from the next nearest free-to-use ATM and has also enhanced its Financial Inclusion Programme. More recently, LINK has committed to protecting free access to cash on high streets – where there is a cluster of five or more retailers – that don’t have a free-to-use ATM or a Post Office counter within 1 kilometre.
UK Finance has also launched a Community Access to Cash Initiative, offering grants to local communities to improve cash access.
In addition, the Government has invested heavily in maintaining a stable network of Post Office branches, with investment of around £2 billion since 2010. Currently, 99% of personal customers and 95% of small business customers can carry out their everyday banking locally at one of the Post Office’s 11,500 branches.