According to the latest figures from the Link, the organization that oversees the ATM network in the United Kingdom, the rate of closure of cash vending machines has reached a record high.
The number of free-to-use ATMs in the country dropped to 53,200 from 54,500 between the end of January and the start of July 2018. This translates to a closure rate of over 250 machines every month.
But does this number have any relevance in an era where people are using alternative modes of payment such as plastic cards and mobile phones, is the question that some are asking.
But according to Link, this rate of closure is just what it had predicted following its decision to reduce “interchange” fees 25p to 20p for those ATMs that were still operational.
The organization had argued that this measure was taken because of a boom in the number of ATMs because of such machines being treated as a rich money source by operators. It further argued that despite the growing tendency among people of using less cash, the number of cash vending machines that were free to use increased by over 18000 by 2017 for about 36,400 such machines in 2007.
The measure taken by it would help to identify the misuse of such machines which had been installed in some areas in the country at distances of a few meters, Link said.
But the organization also was concerned about the fact that the rate of closure of such machines would most likely affect the ones that are situated in the remote areas because compared to the busy cities and towns, those have very little footfall and usage. Further, it is cheaper to maintain ATMs that are situated in a cluster instead of ones that are situated far from each other.
This possible tendency has been countered by Link by offering incre4ased fees for the operating ATMs that are relocate din remote areas or which where there are no alternative means of cash collection.
But that strategy apparently has not worked as there has been reports of closure of at least 20 such machines in regions and areas where there are virtually no other alternative for cash such as a post office.
One of the reasons being put forward for this is the possible closure of shops that housed one or more of the ATMs and therefore could be a temporary measure.
And despite the undeniable advent of the digital are where an increasing number of people now prefer to use alternatives to cash, there are also many who want to have cash in hand.
According to a statement from the UK the Payment Systems Regulator, new requirements on Link is being brought forward aimed to make sure that people have access to cash in times of need.
But that is one thing that is yet to be achieved.
(Adapted from TheIndependent.co.uk)