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UK towns are getting rid of all their free ATMs

As the British economy becomes more cashless people are using ATMs less.

When’s the last time you used cash to pay for something? If you’re left scratching your head, you’re not alone. From cups of coffee to bus journeys, many of us now use our debit cards/credit cards/phones for even the smallest purchases.

One of the side-effects is that ATMs are being used a lot less than they used to be. And the less we use ATMs, the less likely shops, banks and high streets are to have them: ATMs are currently disappearing at a rate of 300 a month. Free ATMs - where you don’t have to pay a fee to get your cash out - are disproportionately likely to get the chop.

That’s because ATMs cost money. You have to buy materials and hire workers to put them together, pay for electricity to run them and pay for more workers to install them, maintain them, and fill them with money. And for some ATM owners (businesses like corner shops and nightclubs, plus companies whose whole business model is to buy lots of ATMs and lease them out) cash machines also need to net them a profit.

So ‘free’ ATMs aren’t really free. Someone (usually a bank, who figures having easy, free access to their money is a big reason people become customers) is subsidising the cost of you getting your money out.

But when less people are using ATMs, banks stop seeing them as worth spending money on. And because banks pay independent ATM owners per transaction, less people using ATMs means those ATM owners start struggling to make a profit on their machines, or even enough money to cover their costs. So they introduce withdrawal fees or get rid of them.

But if the economy is becoming more and more cashless, are fewer free ATMs a problem? Probably, because the people most likely to be impacted by their disappearance are also the people least able to afford the change. Poorer individuals and smaller businesses are both disproportionately likely to use cash. It’s harder for lower-income people to get credit cards, and it costs three times as much for businesses to process card payments than cash ones (because of bank fees).

Read our explainer on: digital money

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Reader Comments

  • WhereAreTheVikings

    What a terrible, terrible shame. Western Civilization nurtured capitalism, and now capitalism is destroying it. And these young people seem to welcome the invasion of their homeland. The media and schools have been very efficient in wiping out all traces of blood and soil.

    • prollawalllynotahumanoid

      Capitalism isn’t the problem. It’s corrupt politicians taking bribes and kickbacks from Globalists and the Chinese.

      • WhereAreTheVikings

        Maybe I should have said crony capitalism. Although Italians importing Chinese to make “Italian leather” shoes is not crony capitalism. It is capitalism, pure and simple.

        • prollawalllynotahumanoid

          That would be crony capitalism and globalism combined. They aren’t concerned with the affect their policies have upon their citizens, the health and welfare of their society and culture or their economy. What it isn’t is fair-free trade to further national interests.

          • WhereAreTheVikings

            I’ve always seen them as one and the same, but perhaps they need to be named individually, just to bring home the point.

      • WhereAreTheVikings

        But now that travel is so easy and borders are virtually down through H1bs and the like, theoretically you can’t blame capitalists for the pursuit of cheaper labor, although I do heartily blame them not being more patriotic than that. Perhaps the emerging nationalism will force them to voluntarily do what they should have morally been doing all along, and that is employing business practices that preserve their countries and nationalities. The government should be doing everything it can to encourage that, to the extent that small government should do anything but guard the borders and strictly, drastically, limit immigration.

      • Henry Lam

        It is China with its corrupted mindset affecting the world.

        • prollawalllynotahumanoid

          No it is not. Capitalism is the fairest and least corrupt system of all.

          Socialism and communism is based on authoritarianism, coercion and police intimidation. It has and always will be rife with criminality, bribes and kickbacks.

          Corruption can be anywhere but it is the very basis of socialism and communism.

    • Henry Lam

      The government is too weak. They do not understand the mindset of communists and how they educate their people. Those communist people are only loyal to their country and could be dangerous. The immigration law should only accept those who accepted multiculturalism and taught from a democratic education system. This virus events clearly has shown how stupid to take China as a friend.

      • WhereAreTheVikings

        The government is not too weak. Just weak-minded about some things.

  • Gabi Rodrigues

    For how many days can a country maximum close their borders to foreigners maximum? Like now, with the virus, everyone is using 30 days. Can it be more?