Number of free-to-use cashpoints will fall by 1,000 in just three months

The number of free-to-use cashpoints will fall by 1,000 over the next three months after a major operator announced that more of its machines will start charging a fee.

In a further blow, state-backed lender NatWest and rival Lloyds announced the closure of 81 more branches.

The free machines most under threat are the tens of thousands installed in corner shops.

Chief executive Steve Makaritis blames recent cuts in the fees it receives from banks – and the Government for doing too little to protect free machines.

‘Government legislation protects ‘access to cash’, but crucially fails to address the broken funding model that is forcing ATM operators to convert,’ he said, warning: ‘Unless more funding is given, households will be left with a very small number of free-to-use ATMs.’

Only 3,300 UK cashpoints have ‘protected’ status and are guaranteed to remain free. In February, the number of free machines fell below 40,000 – less than half the number eight years ago.

Branch closures are the main cause. The UK’s 20 biggest banks and building societies had 9,870 branches at the start of 2015 but, under plans announced so far, a total of 5,579 will have shut by the end of 2023, says Which?

The rate of closures has been running at 54 a month, the consumer group calculates. The NatWest and Lloyds announcements mean a total of 333 are due to close this year.

Source of data and images: dailymail

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