Free to use ATMs are still good to go says SGF

Scottish Grocers’ Federation seeks to reassure retailers over ATM concerns

Scottish Grocers' Federation chief executive Pete Cheema
The Scottish Grocers’ Federations is seeking to reassure retailers over free-to-use ATM concerns

THE Scottish Grocers’ Federation (SGF) is warning retailers of mixed messaging on the future of free-to-use ATMs.

The SGF is now reassuring convenience retailers that there is no plan to reduce the number of free-to-use cash machines across Scotland.

In fact, the number of such ATMs has increased in recent years – rising from 2,761 in January 2021 to 2,845 in January this year north of the border.

Concerns were raised with the SGF after an ATM operator issued a letter to retailers claiming that there was no option but to move them on to a pay-to-use system.

The letter stated: “LINK, which governs the ATM network in the UK, wishes to see the overall number of free-to-use ATMs reduced by about 50%.”

But in a response to the SGF, LINK claimed that this statement was “simply not true”. And the organisation went on to say that it was working to protect the free access to cash network in Scotland, particularly in rural and remote communities.

The SGF is urging retailers to carefully check their contractual agreements before altering their arrangements with ATM operators or moving to a pay-to-use ATM.

SGF chief executive Pete Cheema said: “Misinformation regarding the future of free-to-use ATMs is a serious concern for our members and for convenience retail in Scotland. 

“Many stores are at the very heart of their communities and rely on providing essential local services, and good customer relations.

“Sending out mixed messages and forcing retailers to withdraw their free-to-use ATMs will put many at a competitive disadvantage to both their larger counterparts and superstores.

“Being able to provide easily available, free access to cash is essential for many rural, remote, elderly and deprived communities – and an important part of the offer and range of services available at many stores.”