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Out of Pocket

CAB evidence on the impact of fee-charging cash machines.

Most people in the UK use automatic teller machines (ATMs) to access their cash. Over the last seven years the number of ATMs which charge a fee to access money has grown from very few to over 40 per cent of total UK cash machines. Our research found that:

  • in some areas people have no choice but to use a fee charging cash machine, particularly in rural or urban deprived areas where small bank branches may have closed. Our online survey found that 20 per cent of people use a fee charging cash machine at least once a week  
  • some places such as hospitals and universities have become ‘fee charging hotspots’ where people have no choice but to incur a fee to access their money  
  • despite commitments about clear signage in the LINK code of compliance, signage of fee-charging ATMs needs to be improved. In our online survey, 73 per cent of people said that additional signage would enable them to make a more informed decision about using a fee charging ATM  
  • the impact of having to use a fee-charging cash machine is most acute for people in receipt of state benefits whose income is now paid into bank accounts. Even a £1.50 charge can represent a large part of their weekly income. 

This briefing includes recommendations to a range of stakeholders, including government departments, LINK, the Post Office and banks.

Publication date
July 2006
Publication type
Number of pages