I don’t think the sums here add up at all. Cash back is a thing and retailers approve of giving out some of their excess cash (to save on processing fees), maybe that will grow over time if there are less ATMs but Link seem to be proposing that their £10k ATM be replaced by an army of cashiers who will do the ATM’s job. Clearly they have decided this market is not so sweet anymore and are trying to run away, but pitching half baked solutions to enable that. It is worth noting that the number of ATMs in the UK is still rising so this is just a Link thing rather than a market thing.
I’ve been unfortunate enough to work both as a cashier in a busy supermarket and in the ATM processing department of a major bank before so I know this is not possible.
In the supermarket a cashier would start the day with a couple hundred quid in coins and a couple of fivers and as the day goes on and they build up some cash they will give some of it out as cash back and send the rest to the cash office to ensure they don’t have too much cash in their till which is obviously a security risk when it is in a public area and can be opened by pressing a button on a screen. The goal of cashback for the retailer is to hold as little cash as possible and save on processing fees when they send the cash back to their bank.
The average major bank’s ATM is loaded with about £100,000 and the average supermarket cashier has about £100-1000 in their till. How and why would the retailer replicate an ATM at that scale when the whole reason they want to give cash back is because they don’t want to be holding any cash? Instead of starting with £200 in coins would the cashier start with £50,000 in notes and an armed guard on their shoulder? Not practical at all and that doesn’t consider that supermarkets will not want their cashiers spending hours being a banker. They are already trying to replace all their cashiers with food ATMs!
Also replacing ATMs altogether would be problematic for the Bank of England as ATMs provide a crucial role in the cash ecosystem for them by allowing new notes to enter the system directly at the bottom of the chain. Recently the new £10 note entered the ecosystem by the billions of pounds via ATMs and the old notes have been exiting the system via business and customer deposits to banks. How would old notes leave the system on this scale if they just went back and forth endlessly between business and customer?
I think Link are just trying to drum up publicity to enable them to charge fees or give them an excuse to leave isolated communities.