As outlined in its interchange announcement at the end of January, LINK has committed to maintain the broad geographical coverage of the ATM network in the UK and to publish data on progress against this. This is the first report.
Between the end of January and the start of July 2018, the number of free-to-use ATMs reduced from 54,500 to 53,200. This represents a 2% reduction in the size of the network (1,300 ATMs). This reduction is in line with LINK’s Impact Assessment on the effect of changes in interchange published at the start of the year. This estimated that the reduction in the size of the network, as a result of the interchange reduction, would be up to 11% over a four-year period. The number of pay-to-use ATMs has also fallen during this period, by 11% from 13,400 to 11,900 (1,500), evidencing consumers continued strong demand for free cash access and the broad coverage of free ATMs across all of the UK.
The continuing adoption of new payment methods is reducing the demand for cash and therefore ATM withdrawals. The ATM deployment market is responding by reducing the number of free ATMs independently of the interchange reduction. LINK’s commitment is to ensure that coverage of the network is not reduced as a result of this decline in consumer demand. Protecting the level of interchange, and in some cases increasing the interchange payable, on machines in more remote and rural locations will help to ensure that these ATMs do not close. A reduction in interchange rates in busier urban centres has also been made as there is an over-provision of machines in some of these areas.
LINK has put in place specific arrangements to protect free-to-use ATMs more than 1km away from their next nearest free-to-use ATM. LINK is targeting all 2,365 of these free machines in remote and rural areas to remain open to preserve coverage, unless there is another source of cash access available or no consumer impact. 21 of these ATMs are not currently available, through closure or other operational reasons. All of these 21 locations are being investigated by LINK and subsidies to open new ATMs will be provided if they have closed and left a consumer cash access issue. This report gives full details of this.
You can download a breakdown of LINK ATMs by Parliamentary Constituency here.