A survey by Which? has found that cash machines that are free-to-use are disappearing at an alarming rate.
They estimate that 1,700 machines started charging for withdrawals in the first 3 months of this year, most of the machines introduced charging in March.
Two of the main suppliers, Cardtronics and NoteMachine are both likely to start charging at more machines during the year, meaning the UK would lose 13% of its ‘free to use’ ATM’s.
A reduction in the fee operators receive from banks each time a withdrawal is made is said to be the cause.
Link which oversees ATMs, cut the transaction fee from 25p to 23p per withdrawal. This is due to the fact that less people are using cash and as such, ATMs are becoming more expensive to run.
There are two schools of thought here. Many people, particularly in smaller communities, are reliant on the local ATM and are at the mercy of ATM operators with regard to fees. Many machines now charge between £1 and £2 per transaction to the public. This is significantly more than the 2p reduction paid by banks to operators. Using this logic, it would appear that at a loss of 2p per transaction and now charging say £1, this means that cash withdrawals are down 50:1. We find this unlikely and profit is the 'master'.
That said, we are no fans of free banking. Why is it that a business usually has to pay for its banking but the consumer does not? You cannot have it all … security, refunds when defrauded, contactless payments, online and banking apps, instant bank transfers and of course interest. A nominal fee for withdrawals does not appear to be that expensive when looking at banking services overall. We suggest it will not be long before all cash ATMs make a charge for withdrawal.