Since the beginning of 2018, 250 free ATM closures, on average, took place each month in the UK.

According to LINK’s ATM Footprint Report, between January and July 2018, 1,300 free-to-use ATMs were shuttered. This sees a reduction of 2%, from 54,000 to 53,200.

Moreover, the network coordinator predicts that the drop could be as high as 11% over a four-year period.

In addition, pay-to-use ATMs also suffered a decline. They saw an 11% drop in the first six months of 2018, from 13,400 to 11,900. At its highest, there were over 27,000 pay to use ATMs in 2007.

Free ATM distribution

Currently, 80% of free-to-use ATMs are within 300 metres of another ATM.

LINK has specific arrangements to protect free ATMs more than one kilometre away from their next nearest free-to-use ATM. LINK is targeting all 2,365 of these free machines in remote and rural areas to stay open, unless there is another cash source nearby. 21 of these ATMs are not currently available, through closure or other operational reasons.

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Consumers are also able to use the Post Office to withdraw cash. There are 11,600 Post Offices in the UK with this function.

Some UK constituencies are faring better than others. Great Yarmouth has a total of 183 ATMs, but 83 of them are pay to use.

However, Sheffield Hallam has only 19 free ATMs and 12 that are pay-to-use.

Moving away from cash

John Howells, CEO at LINK, said: “Consumers are continuing to switch from cash to alternative payment methods, and ATM volumes are falling 6% year-on-year.

“Given this backdrop, it’s critical we protect cash access for those who rely on it and maintain a comprehensive network of ATMs that are spread right across the UK.

“The report today is part of our commitment to monitor the situation on the ground and do whatever it takes to ensure people continue to have the free access to cash they want.”