At least 1 million consumers in the United Kingdom have access to 419 ATMs that charge no transaction fees under a program designed to bring less-expensive financial services to low-income areas, British treasury officials say.
     Installation of the machines began about 18 months ago, according to a statement from Her Majesty's Treasury, the country's treasury department.
     British ATM operator LINK has coordinated the effort. Financial authorities plan to install 143 more fee-free machines by the end of year, the statement says, providing free ATM services for 1.3 million consumers.
     â€œThis is real progress in our campaign for access to free cash machines in neighborhoods up and down the country and a step forward for financial inclusion,” Kitty Ussher, a Member of Parliament and chairman of the Treasury Select Committee, said in a statement.
     At least one private ATM firm used the treasury announcement to highlight its own efforts. Bank Machine Ltd., a United Kingdom-based ATM independent sales organization, said Friday it has installed at least 650 noncharging ATMs in low-income areas.
     Houston-based Cardtronics Inc., the world’s largest ISO based on the ATMs it owns and manages, owns Bank Machine.
     Cardtronics managed or owned 32,475 ATMs at the end of March.
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