/ Money

Save our cashpoints: will you support our campaign?  

Despite our calls for the Payment Systems Regulator to intervene, Link’s proposal to reduce its interchange fee have simply been waved through. This could see thousands of free cashpoints across the UK shut down. That’s why today we’re launching the Save our cashpoints campaign. 

On Wednesday, the UK’s largest cashpoint network, Link announced that it will go ahead with plans to cut its interchange fee by 20% over the next five years.

This reduction would see the fee, which banks pay each time one of their customers uses a free-to-use cashpoint, drop from around 25p to 20p per transaction. This could mean thousands of free-to-use cashpoints across the country become no longer financially viable. And this could lead to them being closed down altogether.

Our evidence shows that many people still rely on free-to-use cashpoints to access their money. And with more than two million people in the UK almost entirely reliant on cash, we think it is vital that they can access their money easily and free of charge.

Research from Which? and others from across the industry have made clear the extent of the potential impact on consumers. Yet this seems to have been largely ignored by Link throughout the process.

The campaign

Link has tried to combat the detrimental impact its changes could have on the free-to-use network through its Financial Inclusion programme – including a commitment to maintaining free-to-use cashpoints in remote areas.

However, it is worryingly clear that commercial pressure from its members, and the big banks in particular, means that Link simply can’t guarantee consumers will be adequately protected or that specific cashpoints will remain open.

With many parts of the country already reeling from local bank branch closures, we think the Payments Systems Regulator (PSR) has an obvious and urgent responsibility to step in and ensure consumers’ free access to their own money is protected.

That’s why today we, along with the Federation of Small Businesses (FSB), are launching the Save our cashpoints campaign – to protect free access to cash. It’s unacceptable that the PSR is allowing Link to make a decision that could impact millions of consumers without conducting a review of its own.

What do you think? Are cashpoints a thing of the past or do you share our view and think the PSR should step to protect free-to-use cashpoints.


This Convo shows, from a number of comments, how misunderstood the current situation is. I do wish that Which? would properly inform on an issue and help avoid these erroneous or unfounded comments that then might mislead others. Or at least correct the Convo from time to time.

I agree, Malcolm. I am tired of trying to deal with all these derailments, and, at the risk of repeating myself, doing it over and over again repetitively. We need more reliable infrastructure.

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Without knowing the source of your e-mails, Duncan, I cannot comment on the greatness of their minds and how it compares with mine. I would not normally have much in common with a London-based right-wing government advisory organisation.

I was, of course, talking about Conversational derailments – when our comments go off the rails because people aren’t paying attention – and the ‘infrastructure’ is the material that Which? provides on which to run our trains of thought.

It seems to me that with tighter controls and scrutiny, banks (retail) have decided to remove anything they can that’s free. It would unrealistic to charge us to enter their branches and facing resistance to ATM charges they’re simply going to remove both, or at least as many as possible.
We’re getting letters now about Ring Fencing and how it’s better going to look after our money – as if that’s new and they make it sound like they’re doing us a favour! They were forced to re-introduce that I understand.
It may sound harsh to those in or retireries from the banking industry but I and I believe many of us, just do not trust them any more after 2008 and all the revelations and consequences from it, some of which still rumble on.

Graham says:
11 February 2018

If you’re in a strange town or city, these free-to-use cash machines are a godsend, if you don’t know where to find your bank or building society. It’s vital that we keep them, as we might all need to use one, one day

I think towns and cities will always have a good provision of ATM’s even after closing a number. It’s possibly the suburbs and the rural areas that might be more affected by any rationalisation where two go down to one or where a free one becomes a pay-to-use one. We just don’t know yet how this is going to be handled, how many machines will go, where the impact will be, and how the subsidy system will work for supporting free-to-use cash machines where there is scarce provision, or even whether any code of practice will emerge to coordinate any changes

You should budget for the cash you might need before visiting strange towns you might need some in an emergency but having to get cash as soon as you arrive makes no sense to me If you walk round the centre of any town you will nearly always pass a bank or building society office and they have ATMs out side

There seems little doubt that another (even worse) economic crisis is looming. Governments are too far in debt to bail out the Banks a second time.
We may be looking at bail-ins (the confiscation of money from account holders – as was done in Cypress).
The response, from most, to such a prospect, would be to withdraw their money and sit on the cash at home. BUT – how can account-holders do this once there are no cash machines, no bank branches, and eventually, not even cash itself.
Once there is only electronic currency there will be no alternative, and no escape from the application of “negative interest rates” which I suspect are already planned.
I cannot foresee Governments fighting negative interest rates since they are the biggest debtors and will benefit from such.
Most comments here express concern about accessing cash, and little thought has been directed at the likelihood of cash being abolished altogether.

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Duncan, I’m new to this discussion as of today and have only read back through a couple of days of posts, so sorry I’ve not seen your earlier comments.
With negative interest rates it will be obvious to all that our money is being eroded. That’ll get people spending won’t it. The concept of saving will go out of the window.
If only negative rates would be applied to loans that the public take out; I doubt even that the Banks would pass on the benefits.

Fools we are yes, if we believe that banks and other companies have our interests at heart.
Banks lend new money into existence and then, apparently at no risk to themselves, play the Markets to make profits. They no longer need our money.
Where though is all this taking us?

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I am tired of all the talk about free cashpoints closing.People should have access to their own money free at local bank cashpoints !Also, it is time that everyone was assured access to at least one local bank. Internet banking is not all that it is made out to be.There have been many calamities with online banking.Also ,sometimes , you really need to go to your bank and speak to a person, and not a chatbot.I think that possibly banks are losing sight of all common sense and taking customers too much for granted.

I see this ATM / Branch situation in very simple terms: the whole of the UK needs to be treated equally and removing essential facilities from less busy locations is nothing but discrimination. Removing any form of access to our own cash is simply selfish and a form of bullying.
If those in {current) authority cannot see that, then they themselves should be removed and replaced by those who understand the needs of the whole nation.

It seems to me that being able to get cash from an ATM is a necessary requirement in to-days world.
To suggest that to cut back on ATM machines is ludicrous. The banks have made it harder to access
your account by closing down branches in the high street. People will not go a bundle on free ATMs
being removed. These machines are a necessary requirement in to-days world. Making life harder is
just bonkers.

Surely, one way to resolve the threatened closure of ATMs would be for the FCA to force a rule on banks to ensure that account holders are able to have easy access to withdrawing cash (without charge).
This would force the banks to share the costs of operating cash points in remote areas where there are no bank branches whilst also ensuring that these new on line only banks that are popping up share the cost of providing access to their money.

jane baker says:
12 February 2018

The Nat West bank is closing in Petworth, Sussex in the summer. Apart from a small post office we will have no atm or cash facility in the town – pls could you ask Link to ensure we are not left without an ATM?

jim withey says:
12 February 2018

just a thought the one bank that is not going to banish free cash points but expands them could find itself with a big new customer base

Derek Kalyanvala says:
13 February 2018

I live in Lindfield, a small village in Mid Sussex. There aren’t any ATMs in the village the nearest Nat West (my bank) being at their Haywards Heath branch a few miles away. It’s impossible for me to get to it as at 81 I no longer drive and cannot use public transport because I have severe mobility problems. There are many ATMs in Supermarkets in Haywards Heath equally inaccessible for me. Accessible to me in Lindfield is a CO-OP providing Cashback facility but with a £50 limit per transaction. Recently in a long conversation with my bank I suggested that they look at the possibility of installing an ATM in Lindfield. With a rapidly ageing population accessible ATMs are vital.

Grace says:
14 February 2018

My local bank has closed. I have to travel 20 miles in any directIon to go to one. If I can only get free cash from my own bank ATM that is absurd. I am an OAP and need this facility fairly near. My nearest ATM is about 3 miles away and would be really upset with if that closed or started charging.

This just shows that the Banks want everyone to do online banking, so they don’t need local banks and staff, just profits.

Anita says:
17 February 2018

When pensioners had their pension books removed the PO provided a special account into which pensions could be paid with a card for access. It is a LINK CARD. So now what will us much maligned have to do!!

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I agree with Eric. The customer used to be always right and they seem to forget that without the customer there would be no business. Greed seems to be ruling the globe and we need to stop it.

The customer is not always right – they will protect their own interests, just as business protects theirs. I’m waiting for the actual facts to be made clear on ATMs before jumping on a campaign bandwagon that may not be necessary.

While there is certainly some scope for reduction in ATMs on some city high streets, I cannot trust the banking industry to maintain an even spread of these facilities. Given that it probably costs more to maintain the more remote machines, I fear that these will be the first to go leaving smaller communities worse off. We have already seen these communities being the most likely to have ‘pay for use’ ATMs.
Even in our town it is getting more difficult to ask banks for advice without an appointments as staff are being replaced by an assosrtment of (admittedly useful) machines.

Why can banks not look for different options ? As an example, in the small town near where my parents used to live there used to be all the major banks. There are now none nor a Post Office. The only facility now for deposits/withdrawals is in the local Spar. Before these closures, whilst in the bank I asked why the four banks could not share a single premises and reduce costs that way. The answer I was given, was that staff would require access to four different computer systems and four different cash-handling procedures.
In addition, if banks expect us to use their ATM’s they need to keep there web-sites up to date. My bank continued to show a branch that was closed for nearly a year and failed to show another that was open at that time.

I agree. The banks have responsibilities to their customers. It would also help if the banks informed services that show the availability of ATMs and banks. I was in Llangollen the day after Natwest closed its branch there, yet its location and opening hours can still be found on other websites.

If people move to an area without an ATM that’s fine, but those of us who would like to retain should not assume that a Post Office or cashback will provide an alternative without some sort of assurance.

Retaining services – local bus, village store, school, pub, – is not guaranteed anywhere. Nor is the preservation of anything else, like the view of the meadow at the bottom of your garden – new housing, HS2 might come along to spoil your retreat. And a quiet laze in the garden all changes when the airport 20 miles away alters its flight paths.

I like things to stay as they are, am nostalgic about ways of life and what went with them, and would like where I live never to change. Unfortunately change happens.

I hope that our parish council can be trusted to ensure we retain our village ATM. I plan to inform them of my concerns, particularly since our Post Office might disappear soon.

I get cashback from my local supermarkets when I pay by debitcard for the goods bought. However, you can only get £50 back at the most.

I still think that we need ATMs even if only to check your balance on your mini statement or to transfer funds from one of your accounts to another within your bank.and of course CASH

No-one has mentioned what might happen if we are forced to go cashless. What safeguards would there be to make sure that the holders of our electronic money (presumably the banks and who trusts them) would not charge us holding fees, handling fees or, indeed negative interest rates. There would be absolutely nothing we could do about it. Nor, indeed, if the computer systems crash.

Cash is key to keeping our options open. So many transactions have to be done in cash.
Pay the window cleaner, buy small items in shops, news papers, tips in taxis, restaurants etc.