ACS: LINK 'Super Premium' Announcement Too Little Too Late for Rural Areas

LINK, the UK’s main cash machine network, has announced that cash machine operators are to be given “super premiums” from April, to help keep ATMs in remote areas open.

The new super premium will be paid by banks to ATM operators where cash machines are located in remote and less well-off parts of the country.

An estimated 1,000 cash machines will initially be eligible for this enhanced premium, which would see ATM operators receive up to £2.75 each time a consumer withdraws cash. This premium combined with the interchange fee means an operator could potentially receive as much as around £3 when someone takes out cash. Currently, operators of eligible ATMs receive a top-up subsidy of up to 30p through LINK’s financial inclusion programme.

ACS chief executive James Lowman said: “Rural convenience stores are becoming ever more important as providers of ATMs with other businesses, especially banks, abandoning these areas across the UK. Access to a cash machine at a rural convenience store is cited by local customers as one of the most valuable services offered at that store, so it’s essential that LINK support the rural network of ATMs.

LINK expects the super premiums, which take effect from 1st April 2019, could also lead to some cash machines which currently charge consumers to withdraw money being converted to free-to-use ones.

Mr Lowman continued: “While we welcome LINK’s decision to introduce a ‘super premium’ for the remaining ATMs in rural areas, this is also evidence of their interchange fee cuts over the last year having had a disastrous impact on rural communities. It is wrong that LINK continues to wield such power over what is an essential service to millions of people. We need a long term strategy backed by proper funding to secure a strong ATM network.”

Figures from the 2018 Local Shop Report show that 46% of convenience stores currently offer a free to use cash machine, with 16% offering a charged cash machine.

This entry was posted by Chloe on Wed, 23/01/2019 - 09:35