Consett in County Durham has a new free to use ATM, as part of a commitment to support communities who need access to cash.
Following a request from the local MP, Richard Holden (Conservative), LINK, the UK’s main cash machine network, helped to switch existing pay-to-use machines to a free-to-use ATM at the local convenience store. LINK is determined to ensure that no-one is forced to pay to access their cash and will act in areas where there is no free cash access option.
At the beginning of the Coronavirus lockdown, ATM withdrawals fell on average across the UK by 65% percent year-on-year, however, as the has begun to ease, withdrawals are increasing, though still around 40% down on last year.
Launched in October 2019, communities can apply for support for free access to cash. LINK will investigate each case raised and where it is possible, fund the new ATM directly. The new website can be found at https://www.link.co.uk/consumers/request-access-to-cash/. More than forty communities to date have a new ATM, thanks to the scheme.
LINK is determined to protect free access to cash for every high street in the UK. If a high street is threatened with the loss of its last free-to-use ATM, LINK will step in to ensure that an ATM is made available and paid for with funding from all the UK’s main banks and building societies if there is no nearby Post Office counter to serve that community.
Last week, the UK Government opened a consultation looking at protecting long term cash access. The most recent report from UK Finance shows cash use has halved in the past decade pre-Covid, accounted for 23% of transactions.
LINK’s Head of Financial Inclusion, Nick Quin: “Free cash access remains vital for communities and high streets across the country. Cash use and ATM withdrawals, unsurprisingly fell in recent months, but there is still strong demand for cash even during the Coronavirus pandemic.
“It’s great to work with Richard. The insight from MP inboxes and mailbags can give us an understanding of where we can help communities and it’s great when we can make things happen. If any other community believes they have an issue with access to cash, then we want to hear from you.”
Richard Holden, Member of Parliament for North West Durham: “Whilst some of my constituents are using card and contactless more, many still use cash and it is vital that they have access to charge-free ATMs. I am delighted to have worked with LINK and Dhillon at the convenience store in Moorside to get a free to use ATM for local people. This goes to show that an active local MP can make a real difference to local people and I will not stop in my campaigns to make life a bit easier for them.”
Submission by Doug Oliver – Head of Constituency Office for Richard Holden MP