Banking

UK Cash Withdrawals Set Record On Dec. 23

Cash withdrawals set a record on Dec. 23 in the U.K., with Brits withdrawing £730 million from LINK cash machines.

According to a report, consumers took out the money in the run-up to Christmas to the tune of close to £100 million more than Dec. 24, the record day for withdrawals in 2015. For all of 2016, LINK said £12 billion was withdrawn from 70,000 LINK ATMs. That’s up 3.5 percent from Dec. 2015.

“With this record for ATM withdrawals, it is clear that cash plays a vital part in so many people’s lives, and we fully expect it to do so for many years to come,” said John Howells, CEO of LINK.

The news comes at a time when LINK is in the spotlight because of Mastercard’s $920 million acquisition of VocaLink, a deal reached in July. Now, the Competition and Markets Authority (CMA) is looking at the transaction, stating Wednesday (Jan. 4) that several stakeholders across the payments industry have raised the alarm over competitive concerns. The CMA has concurred that the deal would, in one section of the payments arena, give the combined entity sway over contracts tied to the LINK ATM network, to which VocaLink provides software. A key concern raised by the CMA: By combining, Mastercard and VocaLink could “reduce the number of bidders and limit” LINK’s ability to gain bang for its buck when moving through the bidding and selection process that typically crowns an infrastructure provider. And infrastructure is just one way of guaranteeing faster payments along with more secure payments.

“We welcome the decision by the Competition and Markets Authority (CMA), regarding our planned acquisition of VocaLink. The thoroughness of the CMA’s review reflects the significance of this deal and its potential for the industry,” LINK said in the same press release. In its announcement, the CMA noted that it has no concerns related to providing payment infrastructure services to Bacs or the Faster Payments Service. We’re pleased to have the opportunity to address their one concern, regarding the LINK ATM scheme, in the timeframe provided. This acquisition promises to bring greater choice and innovation to the payment ecosystem, enabling people, governments and businesses to pay the way they want to pay.”

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