LINK is committed to maintaining free access to cash across the UK for a long as consumers need it. This includes maintaining the coverage of free-to-use ATMs in the most remote and rural locations as well as improving free access in the most deprived areas of the UK.
LINK has had a Financial Inclusion Programme in existence since 2006 which has been focused on improving free access in the most deprived areas of the UK. The Programme was designed and set up following work with the Treasury Select Committee under the chairmanship of John (now Lord) McFall in 2006. By 2019, over 1,800 communities have a free-to-use ATM that didn’t have one before. LINK does this through providing financial subsidies to operators who operate machines providing free access in the most deprived areas in the UK. Originally 10 pence per cash withdrawal in 2006, this subsidy has grown substantially over time and from the 1st April 2019 this had increased to up to £2.75 for the ATMs that are used least and don’t have another free-to-use ATM within a kilometre (see announcement here).
Consumer and community groups, local authorities and councils, Members of Parliament and other interested parties can play a key role in identifying suitable sites in their area. If you know of a suitable location that might benefit from a free machine, please Suggest a Site or get in touch with us here.
In addition to deprived areas, LINK has committed to maintain the coverage of free ATMs at the time it announced the future reform of interchange in January 2018. The full announcement can be read here. This means that any ATM at that time that didn’t have another free-to-use within 1 kilometer will not have its interchange reduced. In addition, since the Autumn of 2018. LINK has also committed to protect the interchange for any free-to-use ATMs live in January 2018 that no longer have another free-to-use within 1 kilometer. Premiums of up to £2.75 have also been made available to the Protected ATMs that are used least to maintain the good level of coverage that consumers enjoy today.
LINK produces a monthly Footprint Report which gives the public a view on the current status of the coverage of the ATM network in the UK. The latest month’s report can be found here.
Access to £5 Notes to Help Consumers get Small Balances
We know from customer feedback that cash can help customers on low incomes manage their money more effectively and that these customers value the ability to get smaller balances from their accounts. Some LINK ATMs dispense £5 notes and to find your nearest one please use Advanced Search on our ATM Locator. If you are a member of the public and you would like to nominate an existing cash machine to dispense £5 notes, please get in please get in touch.
Nominating an ATM for Protected Status
LINK will review requests from communities who wish to nominate an ATM for Protected status. Please use this form if you wish to nominate a particular ATM.
To help consumers find a nearby ATM, LINK has a website locator which will enable you to search for a convenient free-to-use machine. In addition to the website, LINK has a free App on the Apple and Android stores which will enable you to find convenient free-to-use machines, along with providing directions and the services that the machine provides. Full details on what the App can do can be found here.
Most LINK cards can also be used at any Post Office to withdraw cash without charge over the counter. In addition to ATMs, LINK cards can be used to withdraw cash over the counter without charge at any of the over 11,500 Post Offices. LINK’s aim is to make sure that consumers can continue to conveniently access their cash for free.