We’ve been talking about the future of cash machines a lot recently in the media and with politicians, with a primary focus on Link’s move to reduce the interchange fee for machines from 25p to 20p over the next four years.
We’ve been explaining that the reduction in interchange fees is already leading to a loss of free-to-use cash machines, including in the rural areas that Link has pledged to protect. The All Party Parliamentary Small Shops Group has held a meeting to question Link and the Payment Services Regulator on the problems that Link’s interchange fee cuts are causing and are likely to cause in the future.
It’s therefore welcome that some of this work has paid off with an important first concession from Link, which has announced that it will cancel the fee reduction due in 2020 and review further reductions from 2021. This move will make a big difference to retailers who are looking at renewing long-term contracts with their ATM providers, but the fact remains that running a free-to-use cash machine is still going to become more expensive. Link must continue to be held to account if the 1.25p reduction that came into effect in July, and next year’s reduction by the same amount, results in a loss of free-to-use ATMs.
Interchange fees are not the only issue. The business rates cost of these machines can be huge. We believe that cash machines are an essential service and should be excluded from the rating list altogether. We will continue to lobby government to encourage them to change the way that cash machines are treated in the business rates system.