Belfast Telegraph

Northern Ireland hardest hit by reduction of free-to-use ATMs, research finds

Research by consumer group Which? found Northern Ireland lost almost 16% of free-to-use ATMs between January 2018 and May 2019.

The number of free-to-use ATMs in Northern Ireland has fallen, figures show (Gareth Fuller/PA)
The number of free-to-use ATMs in Northern Ireland has fallen, figures show (Gareth Fuller/PA)

By Rebecca Black, PA

Northern Ireland has been hardest hit by the reduction in free-to-use ATMs, research found.

Figures compiled by consumer group Which? indicate that Northern Ireland has lost almost 16% between January 2018 and May 2019.

Across the UK, one in 10 free cashpoints have either closed or started charging fees since January 2018.

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In Northern Ireland, the number of free-to-use ATMs has dropped from 1,870 in January 2018 to 1,574 in May 2019, a 15.8% reduction.

Anabel Hoult, of Which?, and Natalie Ceeney, of the Access to Cash Review, have written to the Chancellor to urge the Government to do more to protect consumer access to cash across the country.

Federation of Small Businesses (FSB) Northern Ireland regional chairman Brendan Kearney backed their stance and urged the Government to step in.

“Across the UK, millions of small business owners still have customers that want to pay in cash,” he said.

“Often, these customers are among society’s most vulnerable: the elderly, those on tight budgets and those with disabilities. Our members simply must be able to respond to these customers’ demands, or they risk losing that custom altogether.

“It’s vital that banks, regulators and the Government work together to arrest the decline of our cash network, otherwise we risk yet another blow to our high streets: reduced footfall as bank branches and ATMs are lost and there is less cashflow in local economies.”

PA

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