Convenience Stores Losing ATMs in the U.K.

Many store owners struggle to pay fees and keep the service free.

January 06, 2020

LONDON—A survey by U.S. Bank found that people aren’t carrying cash anymore. 76% say they keep less than $50 on hand and in an average week, roughly 30% say they make zero purchases using cash. But when consumers do want or need it, they are using local shops as the number of bank branches are declining.

An article on features a statement from the Association of Convenience Stores stating, “for millions of people, their local shop is now the only place where access to cash is available, especially as more than a third of bank branches have retreated from High Streets, towns and villages in the last five years.”

But these local shops, specifically c-stores in the U.K., are facing a tough dilemma. Since early 2018, Link has reduced the intercharge rate—or the amount it pays per withdrawal—to the operators of the machines. In the article, they mention one shopkeeper who agreed to pay his machine provider an additional $224 per month to keep it fee-free for consumers.

This change has prompted the number of free ATMs to decline by 13% between January 2018 and September 2019, robbing consumers of their ability to access their cash for free. To remedy this, Link set up a plan where communities could request free ATMs and has since received more than 2,700 requests.