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FSB and consumer association Which? have joined forces in a new campaign aimed at protecting cash machine access across the UK. We want small businesses to back our campaign to #SaveOurCashpoints!

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Campaign win for FSB and Which?

It’s been announced this week that LINK has decided to cancel one of its planned ATM interchange fee cuts and postponing another, which is a big campaign win for FSB.

The news comes after months of hard campaigning from FSB and the consumer group Which? to bring pressure to bear on LINK to row back their plans to cut its interchange fee which was putting 10,000 free-to-use cash machines at risk.

Why are cashpoints being threatened with closure?

LINK runs a network of 70,000 cashpoints. It has announced that it is cutting its interchange fee from 1 July – paid by card issuers to ATM operators – which will significantly impact the funding of free-to-use cash points. According to the ATM Industry Association, at least 10,000 free-to-use cash machines could be at risk as a result.

We’re moving towards a cashless society so what’s the problem with this?

While it is true that there has been a rapid movement towards cashless payments, particularly with contactless payment cards, consumer demand for cash remains high, with cash payments remaining the most widely used payment method in the UK. 54% of consumers in rural areas would not be able to access cash easily if their nearest cashpoint was to close, compared with 43% of those living in urban areas. 

This will no doubt hit small firms, particularly those in rural areas that are already vulnerable to financial exclusion.  Access to cash is absolutely vital to local growth in rural and deprived communities. Too often we hear of towns running out of cash because current cash point provision isn’t good enough.

Businesses are already struggling to access cash with the rising number of bank branch closures. As cashpoints often serve as key alternatives to bank branches, closures of ATMs will make things even harder.

So, what are Which? and FSB doing about it?

We are joining forces with Which? to try and force The Payment Systems Regulator (PSR) to ensure that there are suitable measures in place to guarantee that consumers can easily access their money without charge. 

We want the PSR to commit to undertake a market review of use of LINK, Mastercard, and Visa payment systems, especially relating to use of cash; the potential consumer impact of reducing free-to-use ATMs; and alternative options for accessing free cash.

What is the campaign and how can I get involved?

The Save Our Cashpoints is a public facing campaign where we will be looking to engage with FSB members to hear their local experience of struggling to access cash because of cashpoint and bank closures. 

We want to use these real life stories to raise awareness of the issue and how it impacts small businesses. We will be working with the media and talking to MPs and the regulator to pressure the PSR to reconsider a review of their decision. 

As the campaign continues, we will be providing members with a campaign toolkit which will allow them to raise the issue locally.

Be sure to follow the campaign on the Which? website and sign our petition. Don’t forget to keep an eye out on FSB’s website for campaign updates!

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