ACS: Urgent Action Needed to Protect Access to Cash

ACS (the Association of Convenience Stores) has welcomed calls from consumer group Which? urging commitment from the next Government to guarantee access to cash after new analysis revealed that hundreds of communities do not have access to a single ATM.

Today (14th November) Which? revealed that there are over 250 communities across the UK that have poor ATM provision or no ATMs at all. A further 129 communities have access to only one ATM and 65% of these are charged cash machines.

Which has launched its ‘consumer agenda for government’, calling on all political parties to set out an agenda which includes commitments from the next government to guarantee access to cash for as long as it is needed through legislation.

The consumer group has identified the areas with the highest populations without an ATM or Post Office - meaning residents in these locations could be at risk of being cut off from cash infrastructure entirely. These are: AB13 in Aberdeen (2,725), EH18 in Edinburgh (2,233), TN7 in Tunbridge Wells (2,151) - and SN26 in Swindon, with a population of 1,827.

Other badly affected areas include:

  • PE32 in Peterborough
  • DL11 in Darlington
  • NE43 in Newcastle
  • NR24 in Norwich
  • TA7 in Taunton
  • WR6 in Worcester
  • CV13 in Coventry
  • YO13 in York

Figures from the 2019 Local Shop Report show that 46% of convenience stores have a free to use cash machine, with 18% having a pay to use machine. 62% of convenience stores provide cash back, and 100% of stores surveyed for the report accepted cash as a method of payment.

ACS chief executive James Lowman said: “Millions of consumers still rely on cash every day, particularly in isolated and deprived areas, and the government’s own research shows that two-thirds of all consumers use cash more than once per week.  

“The convenience sector is vital for providing essential services, including access to cash, but it is becoming increasingly difficult for retailers to host ATMs with the high cost of business rates and cuts to interchange fees. The next government needs to take urgent action to protect cash infrastructure to ensure that free access to cash is available across all communities in the UK.”

LINK, the UK’s main cash machine network, had previously planned to reduce the interchange fee by five per cent each year from 2018 to 2021. After a significant fall in the volume of cash machine transactions, LINK has scrapped the reduction in fees due in January 2020 and is reviewing further cuts planned for 2021.

The Which? consumer agenda for government is available here: https://www.which.co.uk/policy/consumers/5198/consumeragenda

This entry was posted by Chloe on Thu, 14/11/2019 - 15:03
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