More than 250 free-to-use ATMs disappear every month in the UK, revealing new findings.
Figures from the operator of the largest network of ATMs in the country, Link, showed that 1,300 ATMs were scrapped between January and the beginning of July.
Now that so many free ATMs have been removed, the regulator for payment systems has entered and claimed that it will crack the sector to ensure that there are enough free ATMs available to the retail public.
There are new fears about the number of free ATM closures (PA)
But Nicky Morgan, chairman of the Treasury Committee, has warned that the intervention of the regulator is too little, too late & # 39; is.
Ms. Morgan said: "The PSR is rightly concerned about the closures, but I fear that its regulatory intervention will be too little, too late, and it must ensure that Link keeps its promise to use the broad geographic spread of free. keep ATMs. & # 39;
At the moment there are 53,000 free machines in the UK, but the number decreases as people use less money.
Most cash dispensers were located in villages and cities and in areas where more people reportedly used contactless or mobile payment methods.
In an update today, Link said: & # 39; The adoption of new payment methods reduces the demand for cash and therefore cash withdrawals.
& # 39; The ATM deployment market is responding by reducing the number of free ATMs, independent of the limitation of the exchange.
Reacting to Link's update, the PSR said: "Free-to-use ATMs continue to play a crucial role in helping people with their money."
Falling: At present there are 53,000 free machines in the UK, but the number is getting smaller as people use less money
Hannah Nixon, managing director of the PSR, said: & # 39; The requirements we want to put on Link will ensure that Link is committed to protecting the geographic distribution of free-to-use ATMs in the UK. ;
Link's figures have given cause for concern among consumer organizations.
Jenni Allen, director of consumer organization Which? Money, said: & # 39; The rate at which free-to-use cash machines are closed is alarming.
She said that the regulator now urgently needs to intervene to stop further closures and to ensure that no more consumers are suddenly stripped of their access to cash. & # 39;
Meanwhile, David Clarke, head of policy at Campaign Group Positive Money, said that the risk of closures lends entire communities without access to cash, thus harming the more than two million people who depend entirely on cash for their daily groceries. . & # 39;
Link's figures also showed that 76 of the ATMs that had failed between January and the beginning of July were protected & # 39; goods.
A protected ATM is one that is more than a kilometer away from another ATM or a place where cash is accessible free of charge. Link said 21 of the 76 closures did not meet the criteria and were examined.
Link has said that it has committed itself to protect free ATMs more than 1 km away from the nearest free-to-use ATM.
The company said: "LINK addresses all 2,365 of these free machines in remote and rural areas to stay open to maintain coverage unless there is another source of cash access available or no consumer influence. & # 39;
The release of the figures follows a row about the financing of the ATM network.
Link confirmed earlier that it would continue to propose to reduce the fees received by bank operators when ATMs are used.
Some authorities have expressed concern that thousands of free ATMs are at risk of being removed or diverted to compensation.
Link announced a phased reduction of interchange fees, which means that the issuers of the payment card pay ATM operators. The first reduction took effect on 1 July, with a second due date in January.
A third reduction, due in January 2020, was canceled after a decline in the volume of ATM transactions, and a fourth expiry date in January 2021 was suspended pending an evaluation next year.