LINK, the UK’s main ATM cash machine network, has welcomed legislation supported by the Government that will help to facilitate a potential nationwide rollout of free cash withdrawals from participating retailers’ tills. 

The legislation forms part of the Financial Services Bill and once successfully passed through the House of Commons means that, over time, potentially thousands of shops could begin to offer the service. Last night (19 April 2021), the Government accepted an amendment in the House of Lords to include the cashback initiative within the Bill.

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In October 2020, LINK and PayPoint successfully began a trial to allow consumers to withdraw cash using the LINK network from retailers’ tills without paying a fee or making a purchase. The trial is operating across 12 shops in four communities across the UK. The communities are Cambuslang (Scotland), Denny (Scotland), HayonWye (Wales) and Burslem (England). 

Since launching, more than 12,000 cash withdrawals and 2,000 balance enquiries have been made with an average withdrawal size of around £29. This trial forms part of the Community Access to Cash Pilots, chaired by Natalie Ceeney. The current trial is expected to end in October this year.  

LINK will announce the next steps for a possible national rollout through the LINK Scheme in due course following engagement with its members. 

The trial is funded by LINK and sponsored by the LINK Consumer Council and forms a key part of LINK’s efforts to develop a sustainable multi-channel approach to cash withdrawals.  

John Howells, CEO, LINK: This is a very positive step and brings much needed innovation in access to cashLINK expects that free ATMs will continue to be the most popular method for withdrawing cash and will be a feature of high streets and supermarkets for years to come. However, as consumers continue to increase their use digital or card payments, we need alternatives where ATMs may not be viable.