Cash machine firms are cashing in on Huddersfield town centre shoppers.
It has been revealed that we have one of the highest concentrations of cashpoints in the UK.
The town centre has been listed at joint ninth place in the top 10 with a reported 55 ATMs within 400m of King Street – the main shopping area in the town centre.
The number of free-to-use cash machines in the UK has grown rapidly over the past decade, to 55,000.
Running the machines has proved highly attractive to independent firms who make money from so-called “interchange” fees of 25p per transaction paid by the banks and building societies.
The firms, who run as many ATMs as the banks, have been raking it in.
Cardtronics, a US firm, made pre-tax profits of £46m in the UK last year while Notemachine made £14.7m.
But the proliferation of free-to-use cash machines could be about to come to an end.
Link, the company that managed the ATM network in the UK, has said it wants to reduce the interchange fee to 20p over the next four years in a bid to reduce the number of cashpoints.
It wants to increase the subsidy given to keep free ATMs in rural areas or anywhere that is more than 1km to the next nearest free machine.
The industry says the changes will cause them to axe thousands of machines and create so called “ATM deserts”.
But Link says it is merely trying to preserve ATMs in remote areas while removing unnecessary machines in places such as Huddersfield town centre.
John Howells, the chief executive of Link, said: “When I look at the country what I see is a very rapid increase in city centre ATM numbers which is not doing anybody any good, except possibly making money for ATM operators.
“Link is committed to maintaining an extensive network of free-to-use cash machines. Free access to cash is vital for UK consumers and Link intends to maintain this for many years to come.”
The place with the most free ATMS within 400m of each other is Gallowtree Gate in Leicester.
Lands Lane in Leeds is listed at number five in the list.
The consultation on future interchange rates ended on November 30 and a final decision is due to be announced in January.