Ten free-to-use ATMs vanish every day across Britain with towns at risk of becoming cashless communities
- More than 5,000 cash machines have been lost from towns in the past 18 months
- Small businesses, the elderly and some of the poorest are among the hardest hit
- The march towards a cashless society has been keenly felt on the high street
Towns are at risk of becoming cashless communities as free- to-use cashpoints vanish across the country at the rate of ten a day.
More than 5,000 cash machines have been lost from towns and villages in the past 18 months, figures show.
Small businesses, the elderly and some of the poorest are among the hardest hit by the lack of easy access to paper money, while some 54 per cent of customers in rural areas would struggle to access their cash if they lost their nearest ATM.
Consumer group Which? analysed data from Link, the UK’s main cash machine network, and discovered that 323 ATMs were closing every month, prompting campaigners to call for urgent action from the Government.
More than 5,000 cash machines have been lost from towns in the past 18 months (file picture)
The march towards a cashless society has been keenly felt on the high street in the historic East Sussex town of Battle, which now has no 24-hour cashpoint. Shoppers have to travel six miles to Hastings to get their money.
Campaigner Paul Redstone said: ‘Elderly residents are particularly affected as well as those who don’t drive.
‘And you won’t believe how many times we’re asked by tourists, ‘Where’s the nearest ATM?’
‘They cannot believe that we don’t have one in the high street. It has definitely impacted businesses, local shops, residents and restaurants.’
Battle MP Huw Merriman is calling for a new law to put pressure on banks to provide every high street supporting more than 5,000 people with at least one free-to-use 24-hour cashpoint.
He said: ‘More than two million people in the UK rely on cash to buy their shopping. Many of these are on low incomes, of advancing years, and vulnerable. It is vital that we act now to protect them.’
The East Midlands is facing the fastest rate of closures, with 418 ATMs disappearing last year. London has lost the most, from 10,033 to 9,270, but still has the highest density of machines.
Small businesses, the elderly and some of the poorest are among the hardest hit by the lack of easy access to paper money (file picture)
The disappearance of free cashpoints is being blamed on a cut – imposed by Link – to the fee paid by banks to independent ATM operators when a customer withdraws money using the bank’s card.
As free ATMs vanish, the number of fee-charging machines has climbed by 12 a day in the past six months.
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