LINK is the UK's largest cash machine network. Effectively every cash machine in the UK is connected to LINK, and LINK is the only way banks and building societies can offer their customers access to cash across the whole of the UK. All the UK's main debit and ATM card issuers are LINK members.
Cash machine operators join LINK in order to offer cash to the 100 million plus LINK-enabled cards in circulation.
The LINK network is a fundamental part of the UK's payments infrastructure and cash machines are by far the most popular channel for cash withdrawal in the UK, used by millions of consumers every week. The total value of LINK cash withdrawals can exceed £10 billion per month and at its busiest, LINK processes over 1 million transactions an hour.
LINK supports access to cash and the number of cash machines in the UK has grown from 36,000 in 2001 to just under 70,000 today. The number of free-to-use ATMs is at an all-time high of over 54,000 and over 98% of all ATM cash withdrawals by UK cardholders in the UK are made free of charge. See more about LINK statistics here.
The role of LINK
LINK supports access to cash. It sets the rules for ATM operators who want their cash machines to be part of the UK ATM network or card issuers who want their cardholders to be able to use the UK ATM network.
Almost every cash machine in the UK, both free-to-use and pay-to-use, is connected to LINK, giving cardholders nationwide access to cash that is not achievable without joining LINK.
Link Scheme Ltd. is the operator of the LINK Scheme as set out in the Financial Services (Banking Reform) Act 2013. LINK is recognised as an inter-bank payment system under section 184 of the Banking Act 2009, bringing LINK into the scope of the Bank of England's supervisory regime. This is because of the crucial role that LINK plays in the UK economy as the main facilitator of free-to-use cash withdrawals. LINK is an SCF-compliant scheme. Find out more about our company Board and governance here.