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Free-to-use ATMs set for protection in a 1km radius

By Vicky Shaw

ATM network Link has moved to offer assurances following concerns over the future availability of free-to-use cash machines.

Free-to-use ATMs a kilometre or more from the next nearest non-charging cash machine will be protected, as part of a financial inclusion programme, it said.

The move follows a row over the funding of cash machines - prompting fears that "ATM deserts" could be created, with people struggling to find places where they can access physical money without being charged.

The row concerns interchange fees - which fund the free-to-use ATM network. These interchange fees are paid by card issuers such as banks and building societies to ATM operators.

Consultation plans previously outlined by Link include a reduction in interchange rates over the next four years, from around 25p to 20p per withdrawal.

Link's independent board said it will protect all free-to-use ATMs which are a kilometre or more from the next nearest free-to-use ATM. It said this will happen regardless of any wider funding changes.

Belfast Telegraph

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