LINK has launched a consultation on the future level of its interchange fee, which funds the free-to-use ATM network.
Under the proposals, the fee, which is paid by card issuers to ATM operators, would be reduced from 25p to 20p per cash withdrawal
Rt Hon. Nicky Morgan MP, Chair of the Treasury Committee, has written to Sir Mark Boleat, Chair of LINK, about the consultation. Commenting on the correspondence, Mrs Morgan said:
"LINK established its Financial Inclusion Programme as a result of an inquiry from a previous Treasury Committee into the provision of cash machines.
The programme requires LINK to defend and improve access to cash for all UK consumers. Yet with the proposed 20 per cent reduction of the interchange fee, it seems intuitive that some machines will become economically unviable.
There have been concerns that the proposals could lead to 'ATM deserts' for communities. As the Bank of England’s Chief Cashier said, cash continues to play a key role for many, with 2.7 million people in the UK reliant almost entirely on cash transactions.
I have asked LINK for assurances that the proposals will preserve the existing geographic spread of ATMs, and will have no negative impact on financial inclusion."