End of free cash machines looms as contactless payments are on the up
Free cash machines could become a thing of the past, according to the consumer group – Which?, after it emerged that 1,700 ATMs were switched to charging in the first three months of this year alone.
Most of the ATMs affected are operated by Cardtronics, the UK’s biggest cashpoint operator, and the firm said it was poised to convert a further 1000.
Another major provider, NoteMachine, is also considering converting up to 4,000 of it’s 7,000 machines to fee. The company stated “we have always operated a free to use model wherever possible. However, unless urgent action is taken to reduce the pressure on ATM operators by reversing the interchange fee reductions, NoteMachine will be forced to begin converting ATMs to surcharging.”
The surge in fees comes as consumers switch to contactless payments for small purchases. There are currently about 52,000 free to use cash machines in the UK, BUT Which? warned this could fall by more than 10% in the coming months. Fees are at least 95p per withdrawal at the converted ATMs Which? has seen, and nearly a quarter of the machines charge £1.50 to £1.99.
Which? said that without regulatory action, the UK risked drifting into a no cash society that could shut some people out of paying for local good and services.
Digital gaming machines and fruit machines in pubs and clubs are suffering due to the lack of cash in peoples pockets as they use their card for contactless payments more and more. There definitely needs to be a change made so all machines can accept payment by debit card and keep with modern day payment methods. While there is talk about this happening, the UK is getting near and near to being a cashless society.
The UK is the 5th closet country to being cashless with Sweden leading the way (99 % cashless). With the country’s cash points disappearing we are being forced in to this situation and yet many industries are not ready.