Over the past decade, the establishment and development of the Financial Inclusion Programme has been critical to meeting the needs of the most vulnerable consumers in society

LINK Financial Inclusion Programme

Millions of consumers rely solely on cash for all their regular payments and LINK is committed to defending and improving access to cash for all UK consumers.

LINK and its members have developed and run a programme over the last decade which is designed to support the installation of free cash machines in areas where there is limited free access to cash. A free cash machine can not only provide access to cash for consumers but bring many benefits to a local community and to site owners who accommodate a machine on their premises.

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 December 2006, in agreement with consumer groups, government and Parliament’s Treasury Select Committee, LINK identified a range of Financial Inclusion Target Areas which do not have good access to cash. At the time, there were over 1,700 Super Output Areas identified and to-date almost 90% of these areas have been given access to a free cash machine and have been classed as ‘Resolved Target Areas’ under the LINK Programme.

Recent Improvements to the LINK Financial Inclusion Programme

In 2014, LINK commissioned Toynbee Hall to undertake market research on access to ATMs. The research aimed to help LINK and its members understand whether particular groups of consumers might experience detriment as a result of having to use pay-to-use ATMs, as well as the causes and scale of any such detriment. The Executive Summary and full report describes this work.

The Toynbee Hall independent analysis recommended that the LINK Scheme make further enhancements to the Financial Inclusion Programme by adding in some additional sites using slightly different criteria (more than 25% of consumers who were in receipt of government benefits) and smaller Output Areas (OAs).  This work has led to over 950 new sites being brought into the Programme, and since work started over a third of these have been resolved by a new free-to-use ATM.  

For further information and details of target areas please contact the LINK Scheme.  The following tables give summaries of progress.

Target Super Output Areas January 2017

Region Resolved Outstanding Grand Total
East Midlands 94 12 106
Eastern 44 9 53
London 86 3 89
North East 140 32 172
North West 246 30 276
Northern Ireland 74 2 76
Scotland 200 22 222
South East 53 9 62
South West 47 11 58
Wales 138 47 185
West Midlands 176 16 192
Yorkshire & the Humber 180 23 203
Grand Total 1,478 216 1,694

Target Output Areas January 2017

Region Resolved Outstanding Grand Total
East Midlands 33 19 52
Eastern 8 18 26
London 42 4 46
North East 46 78 124
North West 76 113 189
South East 18 32 50
South West 13 3 16
Wales 70 186 256
West Midlands 48 52 100
Yorkshire & the Humber 23 75 98
Grand Total 377 580 957

LINK’s Financial Inclusion Mapping Tool

LINK has launched an online mapping tool which enables anyone to look at the ATM provision in their area along with deprivation and ATM coverage. If you would like to check any area in the UK to see how good consumers access to cash is, please use our Online Mapping Tool.

Access to £5 note 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 touch.

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