Are free-to-use cash machines on the way out?

Only 21% of payments are expected to be made in cash by 2026

Updated: 

Man withdrawing money from an ATM

The number of free-to-use cash machines in the UK looks set to plummet, amid fears vulnerable people could be the heaviest hit.

Proposals set to be released this week are expected to call for an overhaul of the country's 70,000 ATMs, because fewer and fewer people use them.

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There are currently 55,000 cash machines which do not charge users to withdraw money, but hundreds of these could soon be closed under plans being looked at by ATM network Link.

Earlier this year, figures were released revealing that 40% of all payments in the UK were made in cash, compared to 62% in 2006.

By 2026, this number is expected to be just 21%, according to UK Finance .

Credits: EyeEm

It follows a row over how much banks charge each other to allow customers to use cash machines for free

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Now Link is set to put forward plans on Wednesday which would see the number of machines drop, The Guardian reports.

Chief executive John Howells said the number of cash machines had gone up at a time when use of notes and coins has gone down.

It follows a row between Link members about how much card issuers are charged when their customers withdraw money from other providers.

The network currently costs £1billion to run each year.

Officials from Link claim that any cuts to the number of cash points would be in places where there are already several ATM machines, The Sun reports.

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