Members of the House of Lords have raised concerns about access to cash in communities and the provision of free-to-use ATMs in a debate in parliament this week.
During the debate, Lord Naseby urged the Government to consider changing the way that business rates are levied on through the wall, free-to-use ATMs, and called on the Payment Systems Regulator to intervene to stop continued cuts to interchange fees.
He said: “Convenience stores and places such as garages have to pay business rates on through-the-wall ATMs, free use of ATMs is being withdrawn because of adverse changes in the ATM interchange fee. In this situation, will my noble friend undertake to make representations to the Chancellor on this aspect of business rates and ask the regulator to sort out the situation on the interchange fees so that the number of free ATMs does not continue to decline but is put back on a full basis to meet the needs of all our rural people in particular?”
In response, the Minister, The Earl of Courtown, said: “The noble Lord brings up business rates, as did my noble friend. As I said, I will draw this to the attention of the department. He also brings up the subject of whether we will legislate in any way to protect access to cash. The Government will consider carefully whether legislation is required.”
In its submission to the Chancellor ahead of the Budget on March 11, ACS has called for free to use ATMs to be taken out of the business rates system altogether, due to their importance to communities and a wide range of local businesses.
ACS chief executive James Lowman said: “Removing through the wall, free-to-use ATMs would be a step in the right direction in ensuring that all communities can retain free access to cash. Local shops cannot be expected to subsidise ATMs where big banks have decided to exit high streets and cut the interchange fees that fund cash machine operations.”