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SNP Consumer Affairs Spokesperson Patricia Gibson MP has expressed her concerns over the potential loss of yet more banking facilities as fears grow over Link's consultation on the future funding of cash dispensers

Patricia has warned the network that oversees the free-to-use cash machines that a big fall in automated teller machines (ATMs) would have a "disproportionate impact" on Scotland.

Link has launched a consultation over the interchange fees paid by card issuers such as banks and building societies to ATM operators.

Current plans would see the fees, which fund the free-to-use ATM network, reduced from around 25p to 20p per withdrawal.

Patricia said:

“I am deeply concerned at the possible outcome of this consultation.

“Scottish communities cannot lose even more of their banking facilities. Local high streets need cash machines to encourage local spending and with the closure of banks becoming increasingly acute, more and more people than ever before rely on ATMs. Cash is still required to power many local economies.

“We just have to see the difficulties caused when an ATM is out of order, such as in West Kilbride in recent days.

“Bank branches are closing more quickly in Scotland than in other UK nations and ATMs were in many instances promised to partially take their place. Therefore, this sort of move will have disproportionate consequences north of the border.

“I have therefore written to Sir Mark Boleat, chairman of the UK's Link network, about the future level of the fee.”

Ron Delnevo, Executive Director of the ATM Industry Association, added:

"It is essential that Link addresses these concerns with adequate and detailed responses before rushing through any ill-considered decisions, which threaten the viability and vitality of thousands of communities by denying them access to cash from free ATMs."

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