Between January and July this year, the number of free cash machines dropped from 54,500 to 53,200. Around 250 ATMS a month have been closed from areas that are no longer seen as cost-effective to operate them in.
However, the Payment Systems Regulator (PSR) is looking into the closures and hopes to protect the network to enable people easy access to their money.
The use of ATMs has fell in recent years as more people rely digital means of paying for goods, be it credit or debit cards, or even Apple/Android Pay on their mobile phones. As such, the need to carry actual cash is not as high as it once once. The fees charged to cash machine operators by banks to provide access to our money means that ATMs with a low footfall aren't economic for companies to run, and that's why we've seen a hefty drop in numbers since the start of the year.
Link, the network co-ordinator for cash machines, had previously put in place special arrangements to ensure that ATM machines that have no other free-to-use cash point within a kilometre radius are protected from closure. That amounted to almost 2,400 cash machines that should be protected, but since making that promise, 76 of those earmarked ATMs have already been closed. The PSR is taking necessary action to ensure that Link continues to meet the commitments it previously laid out. [BBC]