My father used to say that the ATM was the world’s best invention, but in the UK at least, this once ubiquitous piece of technology seems to be on the decline. According to PSI-Pay, one of the UK’s leading payment services providers, the rise in contactless payments, such as Point-of-Service (POS) transactions has resulted in a decrease in the number of cash machines in service in the country. The company believes this due mostly to consumers using contactless payment methods for minor purchases, not just bigger ticket items.
PSI-Pay believes that another factor has been a reduction in the authorized ATM usage fee, which is making operating cash machines less profitable. In fact, 97% of UK cash machines charge no fee at all. The government has plans for another fee cut, which could make it even more difficult for independent ATM operators to continue to provide services, especially in rural areas.
According to PSI-Pay, the rise in debit card use, which is now the country’s most popular payment method, has coincided with an increase in the number of free ATMs, which makes no sense. Although decommissioning ATMs in heavily urban areas may be a good thing, there is a fear that rural communities may find themselves without cash machines.
The heart of the problem is that the business model for independent ATM machines simply does not work any longer. Of course, people still use cash, but the trend toward wireless transactions for even small amounts means that the technology, while not obsolete, has been partially supplanted. TV didn’t replace movie theaters, but in some places there are much fewer of them than there once were. It is likely that ATMs will become part of public infrastructure in the future.
PSI-Pay Ltd. is a leading electronic payment services firm based in West Sussex. The company is regulated as an e-money provider by the FCA. They provide pre-paid debit cards throughout the European Economic Area. In addition to their main office in the UK, PSI-Pay also maintains a location in Riga, Latvia.