Post Office to lose 600 cash machines as owner withdraws

·2-min read

The Post Office says it is to ditch almost a third of its free-to-use cash machines but invest £16m to protect and upgrade the rest of its network.

The 2,000 ATMs it currently has are owned and operated by Bank of Ireland, which is withdrawing from the business.

The Post Office said that under a transfer, due to be completed by spring 2022, it would join the LINK network of cash machines and close down 600 existing ATMs which, it said, were little-used or had alternatives nearby.

Its statement said: "A subsequent ATM replacement programme will be undertaken, so that all ATMs are replaced with new devices that have the latest cash dispensing technology and security measures.

"This programme should be completed by mid-2023."

Cash machine numbers have fallen at pace over the past few years as demand continues to decline rapidly in the face of the challenge posed by digital payments and contactless cards.

According to the consumer group Which?, 10,000 have been lost in the past two years.

Such is the concern about maintaining access to cash, the government is consulting on the potential expansion of 'cashback' across all retail stores to ensure cash provision in small towns and villages, in particular.

The Post Office argued its announcement should be seen as a commitment to access to cash.

Martin Kearsley, its banking director, said: "This is one of the largest investment programmes in the free to use ATM market for over a decade.

"Millions of people rely on cash every day and we are ensuring anyone who wants cash can get it in whichever way is most convenient for them."

The Post Office said that under its plans it had committed to retaining almost 60 lower transacting ATMs at locations where the next free to access ATM was a significant distance away.

It added that in addition to the 1,400 ATMs in its own network, its franchisee postmasters could apply to LINK if they wanted to have a machine installed.