Ged Killen warns that 40 per cent of free ATMs set to be closed
Scottish Labour MP Ged Killen, who introduced a bill to ban ATM charges last month, has warned that cuts to fees levied on banks for free ATMs could see as many as 30,000 machines shut down.
The cuts have followed from a decision by LINK, the network which sets fees for the use of free ATMs, to lower the interchange rate fee. This is the first of four planned cuts, which will see funding drop by 20 per cent by 2023.
Killen warned MPs to not be complacent over the danger posed by these changes. The House of Commons is well provided for when it comes to cash, and that is in stark contrast to many communities around the country who will be hit hard by the cuts.
His bill to abolish ATM charges and charge fines on anti-social behaviour by banks has received cross-party support.
In a statement, Ged Killen said:
“This is an under-the-radar cut which will have a big impact on day to life, particularly in in suburban and rural areas where ATM closures have been highest so far and where they threaten to get worse.
“There are more free-to-use ATMs in the House of Commons than there are in the whole of Cambuslang Main Street in my constituency.
“Many streets in the UK will only have one ATM which charges a fee while in Parliament there are two free-to-use ATMs in one corridor and a further four just a couple of minutes’ walk away.
“No one should have to pay to access their own cash. However, as these cuts begin to bite more and more of my constituents as well as others across the country may be forced to do so.
“LINK said that they expected 8-18% of the free to use ATM network to close as a result of the 20% cut. They also said that rural areas would be protected. However, ATM providers, the people who run the ATMs themselves think the closures are likely to be double what LINK predicted and we have already seen rural areas suffer more than urban centres.
“LINK has so far failed to meet its promises and it is time for the regulator to seriously look at stepping in.
“So long as demand for cash exists, access should be protected. I am calling on the Payment Systems Regulator to conduct a full market review of the free-to-use ATM network to establish demand and want a ban on ATM charges so that banks, not consumers, meet the costs of providing free access to cash.”