The Treasury Committee has expressed concern about the rate at which free-to-use ATMs have been closing.
In its final report on consumer access to financial services it warned the UK risks inadvertently becoming a cashless society and that “for a large portion of society, including some of the most vulnerable, this would have stark consequences”.
The committee’s report cites evidence from the Association of Convenience Stores (ACS) on the impact of LINK’s cuts to interchange fees.
ACS evidence showed that reductions in interchange fees are having a negative impact on access to financial services for vulnerable consumers by reducing the coverage of the free-to-use ATM network, and that LINK’s Financial Inclusion Programme is also failing to prevent ATM blackspots and closures of isolated ATMs.
ACS chief executive James Lowman said: “This report is another important voice calling for access to cash and consumer choice to be protected. We need action now to stop the trend of free to use cash machines disappearing, which must consider interchange fee cuts as the root cause of the issue.
“Providing free access to cash for consumers is an important part of the offer for thousands of convenience stores, but this is under threat right now and needs to be addressed as soon as possible with intervention from the Payment Systems Regulator.”