More cash machines will be closed as Scotland moves to a cashless society, the organisation responsible for the UK’s ATM network has warned.
Appearing at Holyrood’s economy committee, Link chairman Sir Mark Boleat said his organisation was doing all it can to keep automated teller machines (ATMs) open in areas where they were most needed.
Measures have been introduced to protect isolated ATMS, defined as more than 1km from the next outlet.
Link is cutting the fee or interchange rate paid to operators from 25p to 20p per withdrawal over four years. But is exempting ATMs 1km or more from the next free machine.
Mary Buffee, Link head of consumer affairs, said the arrangement would only be in place for four years.
Link has estimated that up to 11 per cent of the UK’s cash machines may close as a result of the change to operator fees.
When Labour MSP Kezia Dugdale asked if that was a “cast iron commitment” not to close any ATM more than 1km away from the next one, Sir Mark said he was reluctant to make promises “we can’t keep”.
The committee heard that cash use had fallen by 30 per cent in the last decade and was predicted to fall by 40 per cent in the next ten years.
Sir Mark said: “There are some city centres with 50 pay-to-use ATMs. We don’t think the public will be disadvantaged if that number falls to 40, or even to 30 or to 20. What we’re doing is a response to what the public is doing. The public is using cash less.”