A new bank machine in the centre of an Aberdeenshire town has been described as a reminder of “why cash remains important” at a time when technology is used for more and more transactions.
RBS removed its cash machine at the Westhill Shopping Centre in January, after its branch at the site was closed in October 2017.
Since then, shoppers looking to take out their money had to go across the road to the cash withdrawal points at the large Tesco supermarket.
Concerns had been raised that the loss of easily-accessible cash within the shopping centre, which is host to a number of independent businesses, could result in fewer people spending in the area.
But now, the Link cash machine network has installed a new, free-to-use machine within the Co-op at the shopping centre.
Nick Quin, the head of financial inclusion at Link, said: “We’re delighted to support the community in Westhill.
“Since the outbreak of coronavirus in March this year, we’ve seen the number of cash withdrawals at ATMs fall by 40% compared to last year’s numbers.
“More people are shopping online or paying for things on card, but Westhill is a great example to why cash remains important.
“Many locals aren’t comfortable using cards and cash helps them to budget.
“We want to hear from more communities and we will continue to visit, when possible, and install more machines.”
Westhill and District Councillor Ron McKail, of the Tories, said he had a number of constituents complain about the loss of the original RBS machine, and welcomed the new installation by Link.
He said: “People in Westhill and users of the shopping centre will be absolutely delighted.
“One of the problems we had before is that if you wanted cash, one of the closest places you could go was across to Tesco, but if you don’t have a car or aren’t that mobile, that’s quite an inconvenience.
“So we’ve now got an ATM in the Co-op, which is much more convenient for shoppers, and keeps them within the centre – which is great for footfall and all the businesses that are within the building.
“When the bank closed people were really disappointed, and then that was followed up with the loss of the ATM, so it’s really fantastic to see this new facility be made available for everyone that needs it.”