ATM provider NoteMachine has claimed it is being forced to convert 15% of its free-to-use estate to pay-to-use, with over 1,000 machines moving to fee-charging in the next three months.
In addition to the 2,500 ATMs NoteMachine converted in 2019, this totals over 40% of the ATM giant’s entire estate.
The firm blamed the move on “legislative failure to protect funding”, stating that ATM operators have faced a 10% cut to funding since 2018, placing an unprecedented strain on their ability to operate on a free-to-use basis, particularly in areas of low footfall.
The increase in the Bank of England base rate and the failure to increase funding in line with it has heaped even further pressure on operators, stated Notemachine, meaning that the funding cut was far greater than 10% in real terms.
The firm highlighted that there was currently no legislation in place to address the “broken funding model”, with banks paying increasingly less to ATM operators per withdrawal. Without legislation to protect free access to cash, only the 3,300 ATMs in the UK with designated ‘protected’ status were less susceptible to funding pressures, said NoteMachine.
CEO Steve Makaritis, said: “This move to pay-to-use comes after years of campaigning to sustain the funding that supports free-to-use ATMs. The government legislation protects ‘access to cash’, but crucially fails to address the broken funding model that is forcing ATM operators to convert free cash machines. Under current legislation, only a tiny fraction of ATMs are ‘protected’ - receiving the right level of funding to keep them operational on a free-to-use basis. Unless this issue is addressed, there is a real possibility that UK consumers will be left with a very small number of free-to-use ATMs.”