The Payment Systems Regulator (PSR), the organisation set up by MPs to monitor the ATM network, has welcomed the announcement that ATM network Link will alter future changes to cash machine interchange fees.

On July 1, Link introduced the first in a series of cuts to interchange fees; the amount paid to ATM operators to run a cash machine. 

Further reductions to the fees were due to be phased in over the next four years but Link has announced that the reduction due in January 2020 will be cancelled following a 6% year-on-year fall in the volume of ATM transactions. 

A final reduction to the fees, due in January 2021, has also been put on hold pending a further review next year.

In response to the announcement, a PSR spokesman said: “From the very start we said that any reduction to the interchange fee must be made incrementally, and only after the impact of the previous change had been considered properly. We said that it was really important the Link Board carefully reviews its decisions on interchange fees to reflect changing market conditions and demand for cash, and change course if needed.”

PSR said that they have “no evidence that protected ATMs are closing” but the organisation is encouraging anyone who believes this is not the case to contact them directly.

The spokesman added: “We will continue to monitor the outcome of Link’s decisions closely and make sure that it keeps its commitment to maintain the current geographic spread of ATMs.” 

John Howells, chief executive of Link, said: “Link is committed to maintaining the UK’s extensive coverage of free-to-use cash machines for many years to come. However, many consumers are turning to alternatives to cash more quickly than expected and usage of ATMs is now dropping at 6% per annum.

“Link will therefore adjust interchange to maintain free-to-use coverage in line with our commitments to the public and to our participants. Link will continue to monitor the cash machine network carefully and will not hesitate to make further changes as needed to protect UK consumers.”

Earlier this month, The Association of Convenience Stores (ACS), the Federation of Small Businesses (FSB) and Which? attended a meeting of the all-party parliamentary small shops’ group calling for the PSR to provide more transparency on the UK’s ATM network.