I have signed Early Day Motion (EDM) 1431 which calls for legal protections to be put in place to ensure that everyone has access to ATMs to withdraw cash.
The free use of ATMs is funded through a levy on banks set by the network body LINK. On Sunday 1 July, the first of four rounds of cuts to the funding for free to use ATMs will be put into action.
Since this cut was announced five months ago 300 ATMs have closed per month with rural areas being more greatly impacted than urban centres.
There are no legal protections for access to free cash with only the business case for an ATM based on the fee set by LINK or the ATMs ability to charge per withdrawal determining whether it stays open or it closes. ATM providers have warned that the cut in funding goes too far too fast with the industry body ATIMA saying as many as 30,000 ATMs could be lost by 2030, that is 40% of the UK’s network.
We may be moving towards a cashless society, but many independent retailers in our high streets rely upon cash transactions to trade. We have seen the cost of bank closures and the loss of ATMs they bring in Flintshire. That is why I am signing this Early Day Motion to raise awareness of their importance for communities like ours.
When questioned on bank closures and the loss of ATMs the UK Government gives the flat response that you can access your bank account from the Post Office. This is all fine and well if you have a Post Office but we have seen a number of their branches close in the past eight years. The UK Government’s response is to place a sticking plaster on a problem that needs urgent attention.
ATMs are of vital importance for the elderly. If we lose the ability to access our cash, for free, it will ensure that vulnerable groups are locked out from using local services and shops. The digital payments revolution will benefit us all in the long-term, but we need transitional support for the high street and vulnerable people.