COMMUNITIES are being forced to pay to access their cash at an “alarming” rate with around 1,250 free ATMs converted to charge a fee in March alone.
Consumer group Which? said withdrawal fees of at least 95p had also been imposed on hundreds more since the start of the year.
A staggering 1,250 ATMs are thought to have been converted to charge fees across the UK in March[/caption]
While digital payments are on the rise, 2.2million Brits are reliant on cash.
Which? is urging the Government to appoint a regulator to maintain access to notes for consumers and businesses.
Gareth Shaw, its head of money, said it was vital to “ensure those still reliant on this important payment method aren’t suddenly shut out from accessing the cash they need in their daily lives”.
A row broke out last year when the Link network reduced the fees paid by card issuers to ATM operators.
One firm, Cardtronics, said it has been left to fill the gap after bank branch closures.
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A spokeswoman added: “We have been forced into charging a fee for cash withdrawals on some of our machines where Link’s cuts have left us with no choice.”
Link agreed that a regulator is needed, but said there are 10,000 more free-to-use ATMs than a decade ago and half as many pay-to-use machines.
A spokesman added: “For now, there is no need for consumers to be concerned.”
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