The deal has been hailed as a breakthrough in the groups’ efforts to help people in lower-income areas to start up bank accounts, and ensure that they can access those accounts as easily and cheaply as possible.

We have been making good progress in encouraging more people to open bank accounts. But alongside that, we must make it easier for people to access and manage their accounts, said UK treasury economic secretary Ed Balls. I welcome the commitments made by banks and other cash machine operators to increase access to free cash machines.

Mr McFall commented: This is a huge step forward in our campaign for financial inclusion. The banks, building societies and cash machine operators who have worked with us on this plan deserve to be congratulated for their constructive and innovative work, which will mean a huge expansion in access to free cash machines for people in low income areas, vital for economic activity in those areas.

Potential ATM landlords such as convenience stores and public authorities are being invited by cash machine network operator Link to help pinpoint specific locations suitable for these new ATMs.

The new cash machines will be funded by Britain’s leading banks and building societies, which will pay a premium to cash machine operators to set up and maintain ATMs at these new sites, to compensate them for the lower machine use expected in these areas.

In addition, The ATM Working Group has signaled for clearer signs to indicate whether cash machines are free or whether they carry a charge for its service.