LINK, the UK’s main cash network, has announced the launch of a new Community Access to Cash Delivery Fund. The fund means that communities can request a free ATM from LINK when needed.

LINK will fund the installation of the new free ATMs in areas with poor free access to cash. In addition, it works alongside the existing model which requires commercial operators deciding whether a site is profitable.

Local communities can apply for a free ATM via their MP, the local council, or directly from LINK.

To gain a free ATM, certain criteria need to be met:

  • Distance to nearest free ATM;
  • Availability of a Post Office;
  • Site security, and
  • Suitable location.

LINK has previously made several commitments to improve free access to cash for high streets across the UK. In August, it announced five new pilot sites in Battle, Bungay, Nuneaton, Tywyn in Wales and Durness in Scotland, where an ATM would be directly commissioned.

John Howells, LINK CEO, said “This is an important development which will allow communities to directly contact LINK and get things done to help consumers. LINK is looking forward to getting the first requests for ATMs so we can help solve access to cash issues across the whole UK.”

Furthermore, LINK has welcomed UK Finance’s new Community Access to Cash initiative. It provides grant support and industry guidance for local communities’ free cash access. Alternative solutions to the ATM are also supported by the initiative. These include digital education, driving community cashback or helping communities connect with partners that can help increase cash provision.

Rob Stross, CMO of peer-to-peer travel money provider WeSwap, said :”Despite many countries appearing to become cashless, and Britain seems to be working towards living in a cashless society, Brits must remember that there are still many communities and countries both in Europe and the rest of the world that are still predominately cash based. When withdrawing cash abroad, ATMs could charge you up to 5% for every transaction. So it is worth noting when going abroad which countries use cash more frequently and which use card in order to avoid paying unnecessary fees on ATM withdrawals of POS transactions. This way, holidaymakers can budget for their summer holidays effectively and spend wisely.”

All this comes after an announcement from LINK in August. The company claimed that if a high street could lose an ATM or Post Office, it will step in to ensure that an ATM is made available. Furthermore, it will be paid for with funding from all of the UK’s main banks and building societies.