The PRA has appealed to the Government for intervention over imposition of ATM fees by providers.

PRA chairman Brian Madderson said: “ATM usage fees now pose a major concern for the UK economy, as access to cash – particularly among low income households or those in rural areas – becomes ever more restricted.”

The PRA has sent the Chancellor, Rishi Sunak, and Lord Tyrie, chairman of the CMA, the case for government intervention in the reform of unfair changes to ATM usage fees.

Many other organisations have also raised their concerns, including the Federation of Small Businesses (FSB), the Association of Convenience Stores, and consumer group Which?

Several PRA members have been told by their ATM providers, sometimes without prior notice, that their ATM has become ‘pay to use’, with customers being charged a fee of up to £1.99.

Link, which manages the UK’s ATM network, has cut fees that are paid to cash machine operators, meaning that thousands of free cash machines are being lost as they are no longer economically viable.

The PRA warned that big businesses, such as supermarkets and large group petrol station groups, are still more likely to have free-to-use ATMs, as they have more favourable contract terms, but this means smaller businesses will bear the brunt of the changes. There are around 3,750 ATMs at those small petrol filling stations, with 67% currently being free-to-use, but this is set to fall dramatically.

In his letter to the Chancellor, Madderson continued: “There should not be one rule for big business and another for smaller operators. There is a cost to providing this service and so if ATMs must have a transaction fee, then it should be the same for all machines.

“We want equality and a uniform price for all withdrawals.”