The Association of Convenience Stores (ACS) has welcomed the Financial Conduct Authority’s (FCA) proposals to ensure that banks and building societies consider reasonable cash access services and has repeated its calls for a review of interchange fees.
With more than half of store transactions still being conducted using cash, 40% of shops currently hosting ATMs, and 23% still housing post offices, the ACS emphasised how essential these services are for the convenience sector.
It explained that with bank and building societies facing closures across the UK, convenience stores have become increasingly essential for the public to access their money and use vital services.
ACS’ ATM Tracker, which uses official figures published by LINK each month, indicates that as of November 2023, 48% of constituencies have experienced a reduction of 30% or more in free-to-use ATMs since July 2018. In 19% of constituencies, there are more than 2,000 people per ATM.
ACS chief executive James Lowman said: “We are calling for an urgent review of interchange fees to ensure that enough retailers across the UK can continue to provide access to cash for the millions of people who rely on it every week. The current system is set up to reduce the number of ATMs available over a number of years, but it’s clear that provision is becoming too scarce, too fast. ATMs are an essential service that retailers want to provide, but find it increasingly difficult to do so because of the financial constraints they’re facing.”
The ACS ATM Tracker allows you to explore the data on a number of ATMs in every constituency, including a breakdown of free-to-use ATMs and pay-to-use ATMs. The ATM Tracker can be used to write to your MP to ask them to raise the issue of interchange fees with the Economic Secretary to the Treasury, Bim Afolami MP.
You can find the FCA consultation paper here.