Figures published today by LINK (the operator of the UK’s ATM switch network) report a stark reduction in ATM cash withdrawals.

January 2018 saw 228m ATM transactions, in January 2019 this reduced to 209m transactions and last month the number of ATM transactions in the first month of the year fell for the third year running to just 185m.

A reduction of 43m transactions in a single month (January 2018 vs January 2020) represents a significant drop by any measure.

This reduction can only be attributed to rapid and transformational changes in payment behaviour by the UK population.

There were no material external factors to skew the figures. Last month the weather was generally mild and we hadn’t heard of Storm Ciara let alone experienced its devastating power which kept us all at home.

The month of January doesn’t have particularly niche cash spending habits. Each month the transaction and value cash withdrawal data published by LINK demonstrates that the UK is increasingly becoming a cashless society. January is not a ‘one off’ excepted but is part of a trend.

The rapid transition to a cashless society will continue and, amidst the calls to preserve cash for cash’s sake, we must ensure that the benefits of digital payments are available to all in society – inclusive and accessible must be our benchmarks.

Without the watchwords of inclusivity and accessibility people will be left behind.

Focussing on these two benchmarks is far more important than complaining about branch closures and (the lack of) ‘free to use’ ATM’s.

To keep up to speed with the changing landscape of payments in the UK visit: http://www.cashlessuk.org and http://www.thepaymentsbusiness:com

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