Crippling business rates, low commission fees and space constraints mean external ATMs are operating at a loss for many convenience stores, retailers and industry bodies have told RN.

Retailers have been hit this year with backdated demands for business rates stretching as far back as 2010 after a UK government decision in April to make external ATMs liable for separate rates.

Around £4,000 in backdated business rates have been sought from one retailer in a “bullying” manner, Bhavna Patel of the Stockport & Macclesfield branch told NFRN North West members at a district council meeting last week.

“The retailer says he hasn’t even made £4,000 on the ATM’,” she told the meeting. Commission fees for free-to-use cash machines are typically low, at around 3p per transaction.

Satmit Chopra, manager of Costcutter Downton in Salisbury, told RN he is trying to keep his ATM profitable by hosting a machine which charges users a £1.79 fee to make withdrawals. “We opened in November 2016 and have had the machine since February this year. We chose to use machine supplier Cashzone because it offers us a 5% commission and pays the business rates.”

However, even machines with paid-for business rates cause issues by taking up valuable sales-floor space, Mr Chopra told RN. “The ATM is outside, but the back end is taking up space inside my store,” he added.

The Association of Convenience Stores told RN it is lobbying the government ahead of the UK Budget on 22 November on the rising costs of external ATMs for retailers. A spokesperson said: “We have said these rates need to be looked at again. We want free-to-use ATMs to be taken out of business rates. Retailers have told us that the problems they are having with hosting ATMs is because of these bills.”