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.
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.