Labour MP: Ban rip-off cash machine charges

The bill would prohibit cash machine charges
The bill would prohibit cash machine charges

A Labour MP has called for a change in the law to ban "rip-off" cash machine charges.

Ged Killen said consumers not banks should dictate the pace of change in moving towards a cashless society.

The MP for Rutherglen and Hamilton West said a proposed reduction in the funding formula had led to concerns that many ATMs would become financially unviable and may be forced to close or charge a fee to remain in use.

He said: "This Bill seeks to remove the option for ATMs to become fee charging by banning fees. I take this position first and foremost out of principle, I don't believe that anyone should have to pay to access their own money.

"However a ban on ATM charges makes it a practical necessity that an appropriate funding formula for free-to-use ATMs would have to be devised.

"In supporting this objective the Bill seeks to provide a legal requirement for access to cash withdrawals through ATMs or other means where there is a demand for it."

Reductions in ATMs he said had a real-world impact on small businesses, adding: "I accept that we are moving towards a cashless society but we are not there yet.

"People budgeting on a low income, older people and those who are not as confident with advances in digital banking all stand to lose out if we force progress towards a cashless society."

MPs he argued needed to take action to protect communities from being further ripped off.

He said: "ATM charges are a rip off, over the last few years the public have supported banks, their hard-earned taxes were used to bail them out and in response to that our communities are being ripped off by the banks at every turn as they relentlessly pursue their mission to drive services online and move towards a cashless society."

His Bill would prohibit cash machine charges, require banks to enable free cash withdrawals from current accounts in other circumstances, require the Financial Conduct Authority to supervise an access to banking standard, impose penalties for breaches of that standard, establish a financial inclusion fund and provide for amounts received in such penalties to be paid into that fund.

His Banking (Cash Machine Charges and Financial Inclusion) Bill was listed for a second reading on Friday November 23 but is unlikely to become law due to a lack of parliamentary time.