'The firm behind a fifth of the country’s free cash machines is to start charging customers nearly £1 a time to take their money out.
Notemachine will charge for many of its 10,500 devices following changes to how the ATMs are funded.
The new fee will deal a brutal blow to the elderly, families and small businesses – with the axe likely to fall hardest in rural and suburban areas.
It also paves the way for many machines to be shut down completely if they are still unprofitable after the switch.
The free ATM network is paid for by high street banks such as Lloyds and Natwest, which give a fee to operators including Notemachine when a customer withdraws money using their card. But the banks have now cut these fees.
The change – which has reduced fees from 25p per transaction to 22.5p – came as the five biggest high street banks made a combined £30 billion of profit in 2018.
Notemachine is now planning to charge customers an estimated 95p fee at about half of its machines. The rest, which are operated under contracts for big businesses such as supermarkets, are likely to be spared.
Notemachine chief executive Peter McNamara said: ‘It’s just not sustainable and it’s causing a collapse in the number of ATMs in the country.
‘A lot of areas – particularly rural areas, and urban areas outside the city centre – face a really severe risk of either not having ATMs or being forced to pay for cash withdrawals.
‘The people who most need cash are people who probably need to budget very carefully, and there are many millions of them.’ No date has yet been set for charging Notemachine customers.
When a customer uses their card at an independent ATM, their bank pays the operator a so-called interchange fee.'
Read more: Thousands more ATMs will charge 95p to take out cash in a brutal blow to the elderly and those on low incomes
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