Sinn Féin Creggan Councillor Tina Burke has called on Banks and Building Societies to provide Automatic Teller Machines (ATM) as a service to customers not as another source of revenue.
She was speaking after it was revealed that since the beginning of April, 145 free-to-use cash machines across the North have become pay-to-use machines.
“In the present economic climate in particular but also as a general rule Banks and Building Societies should be providing ATM’s as a service to customers and not as another source of income.
“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 ATM’s. As independent cash machine providers entered the market place 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 ATM’s thereby incurring extra expense through these charges.
“I would therefore, urge Banks and Building Societies to make their ATM’s more widely available and free of charge to help alleviate the burden on people who have no option but to use these machines.”