UK Post Office: providing greater access to cash across the UK
Post Office has announced a £16 million investment that will see it own and operate around 1,400 free to use cash ATMs and become a member of the LINK network.
Post Office ATMs are currently owned and operated by the Bank of Ireland. Towards the end of 2021 the first ATM will be migrated to the Post Office estate, with all ATMs transferring by the end of March 2022. 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. Post Office will also become a member of the LINK ATM network.
Commenting on the announcement that £16 million will be invested in the free to use cash ATM market, Martin Kearsley, Banking Director at the Post Office, 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 has committed to retaining almost 60 lower transacting ATMs at locations where the next free to access ATM is a significant distance away. The £16million investment will see Post Office own and operate around 1,400 commercially viable free-to-use devices. At present it doesn’t own or operate any of the 2,000 ATMs at its branches.
For those Postmasters at locations which will no longer have an ATM, Post Office will provide support including posters informing their customers that they can carry out their everyday banking needs over the counter. Postmasters are also able to apply to LINK’s ‘Request an ATM’ scheme for an ATM to be installed at their branch.
Martin Kearsley added: “Our estate of Post Office owned and operated ATMs will see Postmasters operating some of the most modern and secure ATMs in the market. We have also identified almost 60 additional locations where we have decided to retain a free to access ATM to serve the communities needs despite it not being commercially viable. In the areas where we have been unable to sustainably operate the existing ATMs, customers can still withdraw cash over the counter free of charge and in a secure manner. Many of our branches are open long hours and at weekends, ensuring continued access to cash.”
To support the roll out and maintenance of the new ATMs, Post Office has contracted Cennox for their software solution and managed services. Post Office will also use Vocalink to provide the transaction processing services for LINK, Visa, MasterCard and Post Office Card Account transactions carried out at Post Office ATMs.
Richard Grimmer, Managing Director, Cennox UK & Ireland, said: “The current pandemic has demonstrated how crucially important local community services have become. The Post Office’s announcement will be welcomed by millions up and down the country who have been demanding greater access to cash. Their commitment to invest in a diverse, free to use self-service network is a hugely positive announcement to the industry and the communities we serve. Being able to support them in delivering this project is incredibly exciting and a privilege for Cennox to have been invited to help them”.
Gregor Dobbie, CEO of Vocalink, a Mastercard company, said: “Providing choice in payments sits at the heart of Mastercard’s business and this includes facilitating access to cash and thereby enabling financial inclusion for those who prefer it as a means of payment. We are delighted to broaden our partnership with the Post Office to support this strategic investment in its ATMs, alongside the cash and banking services we enable at the counter of over 11,500 Post Office branches. As a strong supporter of financial inclusion, we think it is vital no one is left behind as people increasingly transition to electronic payments, and we continue to provide these cash services to the millions of people who continue to use them every day.”