Banking

LINK Rethinks Business As Banks Aim To Lower Costs Of Free ATM Withdrawals

The LINK ATM network in the U.K. is mulling an overhaul of its business to address banks that are looking to lower the costs of offering customers free ATM withdrawals.

According to a report, LINK ATM’s network is comprised of 70,000 cash machines around the country. The cost to use the free ATM network in the U.K. amounts to roughly £1 billion, while LINK member bank transactions stand at roughly £750 million. Banks in the U.K. are beginning to push back from the cost, which the report noted equals a 25-pence surcharge for each customer that uses an ATM that is not part of the bank’s branch.

“Whilst commercial perspectives may vary, every LINK member was clear at the meeting that ensuring the future of the LINK Network and the cash access needs of U.K. consumers remains their number one priority,” said John Howells, chief executive of LINK, at a meeting with LINK members to discuss the ATM network’s business strategy. The report noted that standalone ATM providers, which account for 57 percent of the ATMs in the U.K., warned that close to half of all the ATMs may go away unless a deal with the banks can be reached.

During the meeting, the LINK banks agreed to create a working group to look at other arrangements besides the current interchange agreement, with feedback coming later in 2017. “LINK will continue to work closely with its 39 members to keep regulators, government and consumer groups fully informed. The LINK network continues to operate normally, and it’s business as usual for consumers at all the U.K.’s 70,000 ATMs,” Howell said in the report. Last year, 2.1 billion cash withdrawals were done at LINK ATMs with a value of £129 billion.

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