We’ve played a significant role in supporting and maintaining access to cash for a number of years.



We published a call for views as part of our second annual review of SD12. This includes looking at how well SD12 is working in practice and its role following the changes introduced by the Financial Services and Markets Act 2023 (FSMA 2023). 



We published our first annual review of Specific Direction (SD12) and non-confidential stakeholder responses to our call for views.


We published a call for views on how well SD12 has been working.



The Government published legislative proposals for protecting access to cash.


We issued SD12 which imposes requirements on LINK to ensure it maintains a broad geographic spread of free-to-use (FTU) ATMs. It will remain in operation until 2 January 2025, unless we amend or revoke it.



We decided to extend Specific Direction (SD8), which was due to end on 2 January 2022, by issuing Specific Direction 8a (SD8a) until the end of March 2022.

We, together with the FCA, responded to the Cash Action Group’s (CAG) announcement that retail banks and building societies will create an independent body to assess the needs of local communities and direct cash solutions.


We consulted on a new specific direction to replace SD8.


Working with the FCA, we published an assessment of the UK’s access to cash infrastructure, taking into account the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic, alongside new FCA research on consumers who rely on cash.

We also published our second annual review of SD8 and concluded that SD8 should remain in place until it expires in January 2022. This also included our decision that we were minded to issue a new Direction to replace SD8 when it expired.


We issued a joint statement with the FCA which provided an overview of the work we’ve been doing, and set out our expectations on industry to maintain access to cash.



We published a report on cash access points across the UK, in collaboration with the FCA and the University of Bristol.


We worked closely with the FCA to collect and collate real-time data on cash access points in the UK. The study helped identify gaps in provision of cash during the COVID-19 pandemic, and contributed to our ongoing work to ensure that access to cash is maintained in the longer term.


We published an access to cash factsheet.


We published a joint statement with the FCA, along with a summary of our joint work, providing an update on our approach to maintaining access to cash during the COVID-19 pandemic.

March to April

We collaborated with the FCA and industry to collate a single database of cash access points in the UK. This enabled us to monitor the emergence of ‘cold spots’, and coordinate the industry response to ensure that vulnerable and self-isolating groups could continue to access cash.


We published the outcome of our first annual review of SD8, and concluded that SD8 should remain in place.



To supplement our earlier research, we hosted a roundtable discussing people’s cash needs, how those needs are being met and how they should be met in the future. See our summary of the discussion and reaction to our research.


We published a research report into cash access, use and acceptance.


We published a discussion paper to look at the structure of the LINK interchange fees.

We received a number of responses and hosted a roundtable event, attended by industry, consumer groups and other regulatory bodies. Later that year we published a summary along with the responses we received.



We issued SD8, which required LINK to do all it can to fulfil its commitment to maintain the broad geographic spread of FTU ATMs.