Sir George is calling for free and charging cash machines to display clear signs so that consumers can see at a glance whether or not a cash machine charges. Almost half the UK’s cash machines now charge a fee, typically around £1.50. Sir George is supporting a new campaign to protect the free cash machine network and ensure that consumers who do not want to pay charges are able to make that choice.
“I support the principle that consumers should be able to see at a glance whether or not a cash machine will charge them.
“Five years ago virtually all cash machines in the UK were free, but today nearly every other machine charges a fee. According to a report by Nationwide Building Society, consumers have paid more than £175 million this year already in unnecessary charges for accessing their own money, and next year will pay over £250 million.
“I am concerned about this rapid growth and will be working to ensure that a free ATM network is protected for my constituents who do not want, or cannot afford, to pay to access their cash.
“Any constituent who has found a charging cash machine without the right signs should report it to LINK on 01423 356000 or email email@example.com, and let me know about it.”
Notes to editors
1. Research carried out for Nationwide Building Society in August 2005 among 1001 respondents showed that:
- 93% of British adults think that it is unacceptable to be charged to withdraw their own money from cash machines;
- 97% of people think that all cash machines should bear either a red or green sign to make it clear at a glance whether or not they charge.
(Source: Marketing Sciences for Nationwide Building Society)
2. LINK figures show that at end September 2005 there were 23,931 charging ATMs and 32,355 free ATMs, compared with end September 2004 when there were 20,685 charging and 32,463 free. This gives an increase in the number of charging machines of 16% compared with a decrease of 108 (0.33%) in the number of free machines.
3. Nationwide Building Society and HBOS have both announced a roll-out of standardised signage for their cash machines and called on the rest of the industry to follow suit.
4. Nationwide’s special report, The Increasing Threat to Free Cash Machine Withdrawals, is available online at http://www.nationwide.co.uk/mediacentre/pdf/ATM_Report_121105.pdf