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Why Are ATMs Disappearing at an Alarming Rate after a Wave of Branch Closures?


Banks are curtailing “cash services.” But why?


In Australia, banks are reducing ATMs by about 8% a year. In the UK, ATMs — or cashpoint machines, as they’re termed locally — are disappearing at a rate of around 300 per month, leaving consumers in rural areas struggling to access cash, according to a new report by the consumers’ association, Which? The rate of closures has increased sixfold in the period from November 2017 to April this year from a steady pace of 50 per month since 2015.

在澳大利亚,银行每年减少大约8 %的自动取款机。根据消费者协会的一份新报告,在英国,自动取款机——或称现金柜员机——正在以每月300台左右的速度消失,这使得乡村地区的消费者很难获得现金。2017年11月至今年4月期间,关闭速度从2015年以来的每月50起稳步增长,已经增加了六倍。

It’s all part of a broad trend. Bank branches are increasingly becoming so-called “customer advisory points,” where the primary role of branch staff is to sell customers a myriad financial products, many of them costly and/or risky, while curtailing the cash services they offer customers.


Spain’s fourth largest lender, part state-owned Bankia, went so far as to remove all cash services from select branches (including my local branch), forcing customers to travel further afield to another branch that still offers cash services, or withdraw or deposit cash at the ATM. But those, too, are becoming increasingly scarce.


Harry Rose, of Which?, said:


“These cuts could see millions of people who rely on cash in their daily lives struggling through these closures — with severe consequences for many communities and businesses. The impact is already clear — with machines closing at a frightening pace.”


LINK defends the move by arguing that its own data on ATM usage reveals a drop in cash use. But others contend that cash usage in the U.K. remains more prent than LINK claims, citing statistics from the 2017 Association of Convenience Stores report which show that between April 2016 and April 2017 76% of transactions in 55,000 convenience stores across the country were still made using cash.

LINK为这一举动辩护说,他们自己的自动取款机使用数据显示现金使用量在下降。但其他人认为,英国的现金使用情况仍然比LINK声称的更普遍,他们引用了2017年便利店协会报告的统计数据,该报告显示,2016年4月至2017年4月,全国55000家便利店的76 %的交易使用的仍然是现金。

In the wake of the outage, as well as an IT meltdown at mid-sized lender TSB that left millions of customers locked out of their online accounts, people in the UK are apparently stashing more cash at home, according to a new survey by GoCompare Home Insurance. A quarter of the survey’s respondents said they now keep more cash in their house in case similar payment system failures happen again.

GoCompare 家庭保险公司的一项新调查显示,在停电事故以及中型贷款机构TSB的IT系统崩溃导致数百万客户被拒之门外之后,英国人显然在家里存放了更多现金。四分之一的受访者表示,他们现在将更多现金留在家里,以防类似的支付系统故障再次发生。

The irony is that while many British consumers may have rediscovered the benefits of having some cash on hand following the dramatic events of this summer, actually getting hold of the stuff is likely to get a lot more difficult in the future as more and more branches and ATMs are shuttered. The same goes for Spain, Australia and a host of other countries.