The regulator had three key requirements of the operator’s proposals to ensure consumers continued to have widespread free access to cash. These were:
- a commitment by LINK to do whatever it takes to protect the current broad geographical spread of free-to-use (FTU) ATMs;
- that any cuts in interchange must be incremental and accompanied by close monitoring by LINK to understand the impact on the overall ATM estate – with action taken by LINK where the impact is not as expected; and
- for a greater focus on the Financial Inclusion programme – to continue to fill gaps in the FTU network.
While LINK’s announcement on its decision following its consultation has addressed these points, the regulator will continue to actively monitor developments. The PSR will require LINK to report to it monthly on the impact of its decision and on the action that LINK has taken to address any unexpected negative impact on the FTU network. If any protected ATM is due to close, the regulator is keen to ensure there is a quick transition to a new operator without any adverse effects on consumers.
Hannah Nixon, Managing Director of the Payment Systems Regulator, said:
“This is a welcome improvement. I am pleased that LINK has bolstered its initial plans to make sure people will continue to have widespread free access to cash.
“We will require LINK to provide us with regular, detailed reports on the impact the changes are having and the steps that LINK will take to address any negative impact. We will intervene if we believe the current broad geographical spread of free-to-use ATMs is threatened.”