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    SGF warns retailers of mixed messaging on free-to-use ATMs

    Photo: iStock

    Concerns were raised with SGF after an ATM operator issued a letter to retailers, claiming that there was no option but to move them onto a pay-to-use system: “LINK, which governs the ATM network in the UK, wishes to see the overall number of Free to Use ATMs reduced by about 50 per cent,” the letter states.

    In a letter to SGF, LINK has confirmed that this statement is “simply not true” and carries on to explain that they are working to protect the free access to cash network in Scotland, particularly in rural and remote communities. This is backed up by evidence that the number of free-to-use machines increased from 26,541 in January 2021 to 26,814 in January 2023.

    SGF is urging retailers to carefully check their contractual agreements, before altering their arrangement with ATM operators or moving to a pay-to-use ATM.

    “Misinformation regarding the future of free-to-use ATMs is a serious concern for our members and for convenience retail in Scotland,” said SGF Chief Executive, Dr Pete Cheema OBE. “Many stores are at the very heart of their communities and rely on providing essential local services, and good customer relations.

    “Sending out mixed messages and forcing retailers to withdraw their free-to-use ATMs will put many at a competitive disadvantage, to both their larger counterparts and superstores.

    “Being able to provide easily available free access to cash is essential for many rural, remote, elderly and deprived communities and an important part of the offer and range of services available at many stores.”

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