Two Renfrewshire councillors Kenny MacLaren and Stephen Burns have submitted a motion to the next full meeting of Renfrewshire Council condemning the increase of chargeable ATMs in the area.
A report by consumer magazine Which? has revealed that almost 1,700 cash machines have started charging for withdrawals in the first three months of this year. This could result in 13% of the UK losing access to free to use ATMs in only a few months.
Currently there is a dispute between banks and machine operators over a reduction in the fee operating companies get each time an ATM is used. This has resulted in machine operators such as Cardtronics and Notemachine now charging for withdrawals.
This is a particular issue in areas of multiple deprivation where those on benefits have very few realistic alternatives to access their money.
In Ferguslie, already one of the most deprived areas in Scotland, there are now no free to use ATMs. At one of the stores – the NISA store in McKenzoe Street – the increase has been brought about by the ATM operator Cashzone, with the store owner having no say in this move.
People in areas such as Ferguslie will be hardest hit by this move but it is happening all over Renfrewshire.
SNP Councillor Kenny MacLaren, said: “There is a serious concern that those on low and fixed incomes will suffer most as more and more free to use ATMs start charging customers.
“It comes as no surprise that the banks are out to make as much money as they can and their action in reducing the fees to ATM operators has resulted in these companies now charging customers for withdrawals.
“In Ferguslie, with some of the worst deprivation in Scotland, residents can no longer access a free to use cash machine. With the UK Government insisting all benefits and pensions go through bank accounts this will impact harder on those with limited means. Not everyone can afford to travel into town to find a free to use ATM.
“The greed of these banks will contribute to more hardship for residents in Ferguslie, Paisley and across Scotland.”
Fellow SNP Councillor Stephen Burns, added: “This issue has been raised by constituents all across Paisley and Renfrewshire as ATM operators switch to charging for withdrawals. It will have a bigger impact on communities further away from the town centre where there, at least for the moment, are still some free to use ATMs.
“Our motion calls on council officers to examine this situation and bring forward suggestions on how the council can encourage the retention of free to use ATMs.
“I am sure it is a motion which everyone in the council will support.”
Motion to Council in full:
“Council is concerned by the increasing numbers of ATM’s which charge a fee for withdrawals. These fees can have a disproportionate and detrimental impact on people on fixed incomes, for example benefits, pensions and individuals who cannot afford to travel to access a free to use ATM.
Council agrees that officers will look into the issue of chargeable ATM’s in Renfrewshire and that a report be produced on all available actions/options to the local authority to increase the number of free to use ATMs within our communities.”
Photo: One of two cash machines in Johnstone Castle where one has recently began charging and the other remains free