Check out our full comparison of Apple Pay vs PayPal in the UK, including pros, cons and features compared.
While electronic payments are widely accepted, cash is still king in most of the UK.
Thankfully, finding an ATM in the UK is rarely a problem. There are more than 50,000 of them across the country¹, and around 95%² in the LINK network won’t charge you to use them.
And, if you want to avoid exchange rate markups and sneaky transaction fees while shopping, then check out the Wise card. You can use it to spend in 175 countries, including the UK. Your transactions abroad are automatically converted into British pounds using the fair mid-market exchange rate.
You’ll find ATMs in the UK in bank lobbies; outside bank branches, post offices and supermarkets; in pubs, restaurants and hotels; at petrol stations and also in other less common locations.
All British ATMs belong to the LINK network. You can find the closest one by typing in your city or postcode on LINK’s online ATM locator.
Most ATMs in the UK accept MasterCard (Cirrus) and Visa (Plus) cards.³ The vast majority of credit and debit cards belong to one of these two card networks. However, you should ask your bank to confirm if your card will work.
All ATM machines display the logo of every card network they accept. You can also look up the closest ATM using:
British ATMs accept chip-and-pin type cards and cards with just a magnetic stripe on the back. However, you’ll need a four-digit PIN. Keypads don’t have letters, so you’ll also need to remember your PIN numerically.
Don’t forget to let your bank know when you’ll be travelling. Otherwise, you risk having your card frozen, as your bank might consider your transactions suspicious.
There are two types of ATMs in the UK: free and pay-to-use. The vast majority are free.² Independently operated machines can charge around £3 to £5 per transaction.⁴
When travelling to the UK, your home bank will probably charge a withdrawal fee. You should also expect to pay a foreign exchange fee. These fees are over and above any fees charged by a UK ATM.
If you’re looking for a transparent and safe alternative to manage your money in the UK or when travelling abroad, consider signing up with Wise. You can get a Wise card, a multi-currency card that automatically converts your pounds into local currency in 175 countries at the fair mid-market exchange rate.
If you want to avoid paying ATM fees (or at least keep them to a minimum) try using these tips and tricks.
All ATMs in the UK have clear signage indicating whether withdrawals are free or not. If a machine charges a fee, it will tell you what the fee is. You’ll also get an opportunity to cancel the transaction before being charged.
Barclays, one of the UK’s largest and oldest banks, is part of the Global ATM Alliance.⁵ If your bank is part of the alliance, you can use Barclays’ ATMs without paying a withdrawal fee.
Allpoint is another fee-free network with 55,000 ATMs in the UK, US, Canada, Australia, Puerto Rico, and Mexico.⁶
International banking giant HSBC is one of the UK’s ‘big four’ banks. You can make fee free-withdrawals starting from £300/day,⁷ depending on your debit card package. HSBC has over 1,500 ATM across the UK.⁸
Citibank, which also offers customers fee-free withdrawals from its ATMs worldwide, has 2 ATMs in the UK. However, these are all located in Central London.⁹
If you’re not a customer of one of the banks mentioned above, it’s still worth asking your bank whether it operates in partnership with any banks in the UK. This might allow you to make ATM withdrawals in the UK for free when using certain ATMs.
Using a credit card to make ATM withdrawals is often more expensive than using a debit card. Fees tend to be higher; and the withdrawal is treated as a loan, which means the amount attracts interest. Here is also a list of the European countries that charge the highest ATM fees.
By now, you should have a pretty good idea where to find ATMs in the UK and what charges to expect. If possible, try to use your card to pay for your purchases, as it’s generally cheaper and safer.
- Statista – Cash machines in the UK
- Link – Charges for cash
- Visit Britain – Using credit & debit cards abroad
- Money Helper – Cash machine fees
- Barclays – Debit card abroad
- Allpoint – ATM locator
- HSBC – Using your card
- HSBC – HSBC cash machine
- Citibank – UK cash machine
Sources last checked on date: 11-Dec-2022
This publication is provided for general information purposes only and is not intended to cover every aspect of the topics with which it deals. It is not intended to amount to advice on which you should rely. You must obtain professional or specialist advice before taking, or refraining from, any action on the basis of the content in this publication. The information in this publication does not constitute legal, tax or other professional advice from Wise Payments Limited or its affiliates. Prior results do not guarantee a similar outcome. We make no representations, warranties or guarantees, whether express or implied, that the content in the publication is accurate, complete or up to date.
Check out our essential guide to PayPal vs. credit cards for shopping online in the UK, including pros, cons, security, fees, limits and more.
Each Christmas, scammers target people with holiday booking scams. Read Alex's story to learn how scammers stole their money and tried to ruin their holidays.
If you’re looking for a good place to keep your money, or for a day to day current account, you may be wondering: is the Co-operative Bank safe - or even: is...
Each Christmas, scammers target people with holiday booking scams. Read Max's story to learn how scammers stole their money and tried to ruin their holiday.
Can I use Revolut in Albania? A handy guide covering using your Revolut card and account in Albania, spending in ALL and more.