Communities who requested their own local cash machine have withdrawn more than £50m from them so far thanks to a LINK initiative to protect free access to cash on the UK high street, in recognition of their continued value to communities.
Launched in October 2019 by LINK, the UK’s main cash machine network, the Community Request an ATM initiative was set up to support areas across the UK struggling to access free cash.
To date, LINK has spoken to more than 4,000 people about local issues and as a result has installed 57 free cash machines. A further 50 -100 are expected to be installed in the coming year.
The first ATM to go live was in Durness in the North West Highlands and since the easing of Coronavirus-related Government restrictions a flurry of new ATMs have gone live including in Buckland (Kent), Caerleon in Wales and Cullen in Scotland. LINK has also installed ATMs near military bases including Catterick Garrison in North Yorkshire and Kinloss Barracks in Moray. The latest went live on 10th June in Ipswich.
Several ATMs have been installed in communities where consumers previously only had the option of paying to access cash. An analysis of these ATMs shows that the average installation is saving the community around it £20,000 a year in ATM withdrawal fees. In some locations, the new ATM means they’re saving as much as £40,000 a year in withdrawal fees.
While more people shop online or become comfortable using digital and contactless payments, today’s numbers demonstrate the continued value of cash to communities, as more than 5m people remain reliant on cash.
Nick Quin, Head of Financial Inclusion: “These figures show the value free cash access can have in a community. We’ve funded cash machines in some of the most deprived areas of the country, and continue to support them where the only option is to pay to access cash. At a time when the high street is under pressure, this is a boost for retailers and communities, ensuring money can be accessed and used locally.
“We’re grateful to everybody who has raised an issue with us and helped us identify communities needing support. If you are in an area where accessing cash for free is an ordeal, get in touch with LINK to request support.”