Retain ATM network to meet demand for cash, ACS tells Review

Only 45% of rural areas in the UK have a Access to Cash machine

The Association of Convenience Stores (ACS) has called for the retention of the ATM network to meet the demand for cash as a form of payment.

The majority of convenience stores trade in locations where they are one of a limited number of shops and services, often providing the only source of cash access for consumers, it pointed out in a submission to the Access to Cash Review.

The independent Review looks at the impact of the shift from cash to digital payments and is seeking views on the cash access requirements for consumers and businesses over the next five to fifteen years.

ACS Local Shop Report 2018 shows that cash remains as the dominant payment method for customers in convenience stores, with 46percent of stores have a free to use cash machine and 76 percent of customers pay by cash.

James Lowman, chief executive of the ACS, said: “Convenience retailers are increasingly the only local source of cash as bank branches close, taking their ATMs away from the communities that they used to serve. Our sector provides secure access to cash through cashback and Post Office services as supplements to national cash access through ATMs, but these cannot fully replace a strong national ATM network.”

ACS also highlighted concerns about the switch to cashback services for access to cash, saying it would increase the threat of robberies and incur high insurance premiums through more cash being held on the retailer premises.