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Communities can request a free-to-use cashpoint for their local area

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A new initiative means communities will be able to request a free ATM for their local area if they think it’s too hard for residents to access cash.

Link, the UK’s biggest ATM network, said people will be able to apply for a free-to-use cashpoint through their MP, local council, or directly through them from November.

Link will fund the new ATM directly if it meets certain criteria, including distance to nearest free cashpoint, availability of a Post Office, site security and a suitable location.

John Howells, chief executive of Link, said: “This is an important development which will allow communities to directly contact Link and get things done to help consumers. Link is looking forward to getting the first requests for ATMs so we can help solve access to cash issues across the whole UK.”

Free-to-use cashpoints have been disappearing from high streets at an alarming rate as cash usage declines.

According to Which?, some 1,700 cash machines were converted to charge fees in the first three months of this year alone.

And one in 10 free cashpoints across the country closed or switched to fee-paying in a 17-month period.

A report by the consumer group last month showed poorer communities are being hit hardest by the move to fee-charging ATMs, which charge up to £2 per withdrawal.

Which? and Natalie Ceeney, independent chair of the Access to Cash Review, have written to chancellor Sajid Javid, calling on the government to guarantee people can get hold of cash if they need it.

Ceeney said: “With ATM numbers declining, cash use dropping, and more and more shops not accepting cash, our fear is that the UK will fast go cashless, leaving millions of people behind.”


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