The government must step in to stop cash becoming a thing of the past, say consumer champions Which?, as they urged new Chancellor Risi Sunak to protect the vulnerable people who still rely on it.
The CEO of the UK’s largest cashpoint network Link, Josh Howells, issued a stark warning that the free cash system “infrastructure will fall apart” within two years unless the government step in.
A total of 9,500 free-to-use cash machines have disappeared from the UK’s streets in the last two years, with Link responding by launching their ‘Request an ATM’ scheme last October to allow communities to ask for funding to maintain a machine. But in the period since, Link has received just 274 requests.
'I packed the car, we left and it was really scary. But it was the best thing we did. It wouldn’t happen if I didn’t use cash.'
Sam was in an abusive relationship.
This is such a powerful story about why we must #ProtectCash@RefugeCharitypic.twitter.com/wNY1cprg7M
— Which? (@WhichUK) February 26, 2020
This is an example of the lacklustre, reactive approach taken by the industry to identify areas where there is desperate need, insist Which?. They presented Link with 3,160 demands for a free cashpoint from across the vast majority of parliamentary constituencies collated by their own tool.
The loss of free-to-use machines and a following spike in pay-to-use machines is a familiar story across the UK. Ward End in Birmingham, for example, has lost 91 per cent of its free cash points, a reduction from 11 down to one.