Sinn Féin Creggan Councillor Tina Burke has called on banks and building societies to provide Automatic Teller Machines (ATMs) as a service to customers, not as another source of revenue.
Colr. Burke was speaking after it was revealed that since April, 145 ‘free-to-use’ cash machines across the North have become ‘pay-to-use’ machines. She said banks and building societies should be providing ATMs as a service to customers, particularly in the current economic climate.
“Over recent years these financial institutions, in order to reduce overheads, closed a large number of branches leaving many areas without walk-in services. These services were replaced by ATMs,” she added.
“As independent cash machine providers entered the marketplace, brand name bank machines began to disappear. Some of these operators charge from £0.95 up to £2 per transaction.
“With most wages, pension and benefits now being paid into banks these charges are an extra burden on people on fixed and low incomes. In the absence of walk-in bank services people have no option but to use ATMs thereby incurring extra expense through these charges. I would, therefore, urge banks and building societies to make their ATMs more widely available and free of charge to help alleviate the burden on people who have no option but to use these machines.”