/ 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.


Until we have a workable long-term alternative to ATMs, I don’t think we should try to hold on to those that remain. From what has been said in the previous Convo, there seems to be areas that have more than can be justified, offering the opportunity for redistribution. We have little information about how the companies would view this.

On my recent visit to the village shop I discovered that the large Post Office counter had gone and there was a small PO sign hanging above one of the two shop tills. This is a rather unsatisfactory arrangement because customers of the shop could be held up while others collect cash. I suspect we may lose our Post Office before long. The banks largely moved from manual dispensing of cash to automated teller machines (ATMs) years ago and it makes little sense to go back to handing out cash.

I would like to see a minimum service obligation for provision of ATMs. This could take into account both the views of the banks and us, the customers. Compromises need to be made on both sides. I have no objection in principle to small charges but would want to see assurance that these would not escalate significantly.

I fail to see (but someone might explain it) why a reduction in the LINK fee of 5p spread over 4 years should have such a disastrous effect on ATMs. The worst would be for the ATM customer to be charged between 1 and 5 p over that period to make up the difference? Is that such a big deal for the convenience of a local ATM?

I must be missing something here. someone please tell me

Surely most people visit an area where ATMs are present, to do the weekly shop maybe – when they could access the cash they need, or get cashback from a supermarket or visit the post office, most of which seem to offer access to your own bank account.

I, like many, live in a rural are and have no ATM within walking distance but can handle that.

A few years ago we were in danger of losing cheques to suit the banks. That might suit many people, but sometimes they are extremely useful and absolutely essential for small charities. The banks are pushing us to use contactless cards, and I do, but surely that should be opt-in?

I don’t know much about cashback. Do all retailers offer it or is it mainly the supermarkets? Would those who order their groceries online be able to get cashback?

I think the banks can argue the case for getting rid of ATMs and introducing charges for themselves.

I’m not sure what the “campaign” is, other than for the financial regulator to look again. Is it “no change”?

Would a small charge to replace the LINK reduction not be acceptable in some areas threatened with loss? Just where should ATMs be in more rural areas – how far from residents (or 95% say – surely not everyone has to be close?). How many people actually, in the course of their normal lives, do not regularly visit places where cash is accessible, whether through an ATM, cashback, post office, bank? Could banks not combine their resources in a common office when individual footfalls are too low? Could a local shop provide a service?

I remember years ago when I had to plan a visit to my bank (not that close) to withdraw cash. No ATMs then open 24h. No shops offering cash back. How on earth did we manage?

I wonder why Which? do not, when they campaign, make proposals of their own to solve a perceived problem. Much more constructive, surely, to say “this is how we think cash could be conveniently available to most customers” and have the regulator consider it and tell us how it can be or why it cannot.

If this happened in my Village it would be the end as we no longer have any bank so I and lots more couldn’t get any cash

For those who do not go to a major supermarket with an ATM [or to a local town] for their bulk shopping, and for those who rely entirely on supermarket deliveries, this is a major concern.

I seem to use my credit and debit cards so much now, plus cheques for mail order, on-line payments for purchases over the internet, and internet banking transfers for paying certain bills, that my cash needs are very modest and a monthly top-up of my wallet is all i require. However, cash will remain indispensable even when it is no longer dispensable through an ATM.

Would banks be worried about losing personal customers if they could no longer access their cash? What else could people do? – Having closed thousands of branches the banks collectively are imposing monopoly restrictions on all bank customers. No single bank now has anything like nationwide coverage so they have to share cash facilities through Link. This at a stroke cuts out any competition that in any other market would ensure that satisfactory facilities would remain available, either exclusively or shared, in the interests of retaining customers.

Correct me if I’m wrong, but I thought banks were there to offer a service?

That is true, but offering fee-free cash other than in their own premises is not part of the contract. I think we are approaching a situation where banks will start to make charges for running current accounts including a fee for each cash withdrawal at an independent ATM. This might be offset by any interest accruing on a credit balance; modern computer power can work this out very easily so it is probably only a matter of time. That won’t stop the removal of ATM’s in under-populated areas though.

Why do many use their card to get cash from an ATM but will not use it to pay for purchases in a shop or store Why withdraw cash at all as many stores accept cards only a very few don’t Queue at an ATM just to get cash to give to the next place when you at buying We all need some cash at times for some things but just to pay for everything with cash is now old fashioned HABIT ?

There are many reasons why people use cash. Not all shops and traders have card facilities, some prefer cash for budgeting purposes and others feel that it’s safer to use cash .

To give you an idea: more than 2 million people in the UK rely almost entirely on cash transactions, and 44% of all consumer payments are made using cash.

Trevor R Brown says:
5 February 2018

The nearest small town to our village had their cash machine stolen, and it was not replaced. Fortunately the Post Office in the next village was saved, and I can get cash from them. This also helps our Post Office to justify being kept in use.

With so many banks closing, meaning many people no longer have a local branch, the local cashpoint is their local contact with their money. Not all shops offer a cash-back facility when a card is used.

Offering less and less and paying themselves bigger and bigger bonuses, what do these banks think they’re playing at? They are making a mockery of their customers, especially when you hear the likes of RBS’s latest advert saying “We’re not just the Royal Bank of Scotland, we’re the Royal Bank for Scotland” Closing branches and now ATMs, how are people meant to access their cash? This is nothing short of preposterous!!

I live in Bedford, where the Nat West has its only Bedfordshire branch, and there are three post offices I can get to fairly easily – the closest is a 15-minute uphill walk, which is easy compared with the villages that haven’t got even one. It feels like a war on rural life.

I’m disalbed and I use my cleaning lady to get cash. I trust her

Joan Dolan says:
5 February 2018

I live in Cornwall my village post office has closed , my bank Nat West is closing in liskeard in June, nearest NatWest is in Plymouth takes 45-60 mins and a ferry ride to get there by car, bus more than that, yes NatWest comes in a van on Tues morning for half an hour then you don’t get all the services. Paying to get my own money out not likely , internet banking not safe, if I could I would go back to cash and payment books

As the local banks have disappeared ,the need for a cash machine within walking distance is of paramount importance, mine is a one stop Tesco. Not every tradesman and associate used card or on line banking.

How many of us live within walking distance of an ATM, or a bank branch? Do we know? Certainly not if you live in the many rural and semi-rural areas. We need to drive to get to one or the other, and always have had to.

Trevor R Brown says:
5 February 2018

Most current accounts do not pay any interest, so why should we not withdraw our cash from a cash dispenser for free? The banks are sitting on lots of our cash for free, and paying a pathetic interest rate on savings.

Who, then, pays for all those services you expect your bank to provide?

Angela says:
5 February 2018

Why do you ask who” pays for all those services you expect your bank to provide?” ? There clearly isn’t a shortage of ways in which banks make money and share it out to their executives ! Where were you in 2008 ?

Angela – Would you wish to trust your money and savings to a bank that can’t make a profit?

Would you wish to trust your money and savings to a bank that makes excess profits based on loose lending practices and unsustainable losses when the chickens come home to roost?

Lets what else they do: manipulating lending rates, frontrunning , exchange rate manipulation, reckless “recovery” of lending [RBS?], lying to shareholders [HBOS], assisting in the laundering of drug money [HSBC], manipulating tax by phantom lending [Barclays], lending to other parties to buy shares in the bank [Barclays] …. there is not too much to like about the banks.

It is a great shame that Which? does not address the seamier side of the Banks so we may choose to go to the cleanest. I am guessing that would be Nationwide or somebody like the Clydesdale.

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You have neatly shown the other side of the coin, Patrick, and it highlights our dilemma. While not wishing to place my money with a bank that was constrained in being able to make a profit, I certainly would not wish to be involved with a bank that was using my money for dubious, and in some cases, nefarious purposes. Finding the right balance is the tricky bit. De-mutualisation of most of the building societies did a lot of harm and has taken away a resource that offered – generally – security and reliability for the average citizen. We now just have the Nationwide and handful of mutuals left but not all of them run current accounts or provide other banking-type services. I have been with the Nationwide for decades and truly believe the mutual model is more acceptable and beneficial than the rampant capitalist one.

To add to your list of the banks’ costly misdemeanours let’s not forget the miss-selling of payment protection insurance and other financial products that has pushed up the cost of banking and reduced the returns on savings for millions of customers and investors. It must also have forced the closure of many branches and the reduction of headcount in order to make the economies needed to offset the operating losses and keep the business in the black.

angela, if you have, say, £1000 on deposit that your bank lends out in personal loans and mortgages, they’ll make around £40 a year. Out of that they provide you with all the services you make use or.

Many do use Nationwide, one of Which?’s recommended banks. But I imagine if people have had good service from their bank and have a convenient branch they’ll stick with it. Most don’t join boycotts.

I will sign all of the petitions that I agree with but not being Computer Lit. they are too confusing to me! If anyone can help me out, I would appreciate it! I can read and write, I’m only used to Pen and Paper!
Kind regards.

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Peter Parkins says:
5 February 2018

The banks seem to live under the impression that they can do away with all the services they used to supply, while still holding and using our money.

How do the banks expect us to access cash in rural areas? our nearest branch is 28 miles away!

Bradley says:
5 February 2018

I do not like that I have to pay a £1.85 charge to use the park inns hotels’ ATM. Also as someone who has to give rent money to my nan, who doesn’t have nore want a way of putting money on her card electronicly, having my Barclays bank ATM shut down and be taken away would be horrible.
Yes I could go into the bank itself but it’s a lot easier when I’m in a rush to get money out of the ATM and be on my way.

Derrick East says:
5 February 2018

I am a disabled 80 year old and the local cash point is my best means for accessing my money, so it is an essential service to me.

When ATMs were introduced we were told they would be free and help Banks reduce Branch costs.Then when in recent years Banks began to close Branches we were told ATMs would ensure a free cash service.The Banks PR machine is attempting to set up a position from which charges can be made.
I recall when Banks offered a nominee sevice so that investors could have their investments paper work kept on computers at the Banks.In the last 18 months quarterly charges have been introduced but the selling / buying commissions have not been reduced.
All these charging moves I suggest are an attempt to please the London Stock Market by a show of revenue growth.Don’t let the BIG 5S PR fool you.There are many Banking organisations just waiting to break the mould.
I suggest that the Government should introduce a “Licence to Bank” which would require selected free services”such as ATMs to be assured before such a permit to operate banking” licence is issued for the UK..
Watch this space !