ACS: Consumer Group Urges Government to Protect Access to Cash

ACS (the Association of Convenience Stores) has welcomed calls from consumer group Which?, urging the government to protect access to cash as part of next month’s Budget.

In an open letter today (26th February) Which? has called on the Chancellor to introduce legislation to secure the future of the ATM network.

Figures from LINK’s Financial Inclusion Monthly Report show that 9,500 free to use ATMs have been lost in the last two years.

LINK, who manages the UK’s cash machine, launched its ‘Request an ATM’ scheme in October, designed to allow local communities across England, Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland to apply for funding for a cash machine. However it has received just 274 requests to date.

In contrast, Which? launched a tool which saw 3,160 demands for a free ATM from across the UK, with submissions from the vast majority of parliamentary constituencies.

LINK recently revealed that it may only have the funding for as few as 100 new cash machines, meaning many communities may still be left with little or no physical access to cash.

In its submission to the Chancellor ahead of the Budget on March 11th, ACS has called for the Government to set the interchange fees funding cash machines on a sustainable basis and exempt free-to-use cash machines from business rates to secure the long term future of the ATM network, highlighting their importance to communities and a wide range of local businesses.

ACS chief executive James Lowman said: “Although cash is being used less and cards are being used more, access to cash is still essential to convenience store customers in all types of communities and a vital backup payment method for when digital fails.

“It is now over a year since the independent Access to Cash Review highlighted the need for government action on cash. Once the infrastructure to supply cash is gone, it will not come back, and ATMs are the only way to provide cash on a truly national basis.”

ACS’ full Budget submission is available here:

This entry was posted by Chloe on Wed, 26/02/2020 - 09:06