Bringing back ATMs: 100 community ATMs already installed to provide free access to cash – here’s how to get one in your area
- The 100th machine has been installed in Birmingham to provide free access to cash
- This is thanks to a scheme that allows people to highlight local cash access issues
- Some communities have saved up to £20,000 a year in withdrawal fees
According to Link, the UK’s largest ATM network, a total of 100 ATMs have been installed across Britain since October 2019 at the request of the local community.
The 100th machine was installed in Handsworth, Birmingham, as part of a wider bid to counter the wave of bank and ATM closures sweeping the country.
Link estimates that around five million people are at risk of being left behind as the UK moves towards a cashless society.
According to Link, since the beginning of 2019, about 6,500 free ATMs have disappeared, either by converting to paid options because they are too expensive to operate otherwise, or by closing.
Cashback: The 100th machine was installed in Handswart, Birmingham, after an alternative machine nearby started charging.
To help alleviate this crisis, from October 2019 Link is inviting people to report if their local community does not have access to cash nearby.
More than 4,500 people have contacted us since that date, with each request handled by the Link team.
In many cases, they are rejected – often because there are already machines within a one-kilometre radius – a metric often used by the ATM request scheme.
However, thanks to the service, there are now 100 free ATMs serving communities that would otherwise not have free access to cash.
In total, the machines have served one million customers and generated more than £65 million in sales.
The latest ATM has been installed in Birmingham on Holyhead Street, near Hawthorns, home of West Bromwich Albion Football Club.
The new free ATM was installed at the request of the community after an alternative machine nearby started charging.
Of the ATMs installed, 41 have replaced an ATM that previously charged a fee and is now free, including Abertillery, Glasgow and Nuneaton.
This change has seen some communities save up to £20,000 a year.
The average community where Link has done this has saved more than £8,000 a year in transaction fees, meaning more money for residents and more cash circulating in the local economy.
Thanks to the request service, ATMs have been installed in rural areas with poor access to cash, where geographical barriers make access to cash difficult
John Howells, chief executive of Link, said: “There are 10 million people who would struggle in a cashless society and we know first-hand how important a local ATM, bank branch or post office is to millions of consumers.
“It’s clear that inflation, higher fuel prices and energy bills are putting a huge strain on people’s incomes.
“For many, especially those who are elderly, disabled or on lower incomes, there is still no way to replace cash.
“We are pleased to see the Government enacting legislation to protect access to cash. It means Link can continue to support communities like Handsworth and others across the UK.”
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