ATMs are being removed from pubs, AGCs and FECs due to changes in commercial terms, according to Bacta, reporting information coming in from its members.
To get to the bottom of the issue, the trade body has contacted the UK Treasury, which is currently in the process of producing a report on ‘cash and digital payments’ after consulting interested parties earlier in the year.
Link, the organisation that represents ATM providers, has also been contacted by Bacta, responding only to say that no ATM provider should refuse to make a terminal available on “reasonable commercial terms”.
However, the definition of ‘reasonable’ is subjective, and with Link cutting the fees paid to ATM operators from 1 October, the commercial terms offered to ATM operators may now be entering ‘unreasonable’ territory.
Indeed, with card overtaking cash for the first time in June of this year, all businesses in the UK face the challenge of balancing both payment methods in tune with the demands of their customers. That is, all businesses except retail amusements and gaming operators, who are still unable to accept debit card payments on gaming machines. This limitation makes the fact that high street ATMs have disappeared at a rate of 500 a month in the first half of 2018 a real concern for the industry – but one that has been largely negated by having an in-house ATM.
Now, with Bacta reporting the removal of ATMs from amusement venues, the cashless challenge could very quickly become a cashless crisis. The trade association has now called on its members for feedback on instances where ATMs have been removed from arcades or where operators “were offered unreasonable commercial terms to keep the machine on site”.