Did you visit an ATM last week?

Weekly ATM value and volume figures 27 December 2020.

Key observations for week ending 27 December:

  • Last week ATM transactions decreased by 5.6 million (when compared to the previous week).
  • Last week’s ATM transactions were 10.9 million less than the equivalent week in 2019.
  • Weekly ATM use has reduced by 29% (compared to equivalent week in 2019).

Weekly LINK ATM transaction volumes

The latest figures from LINK show the impact from the UK’s continuing digital payment habits together with more widespread Tier 4 restrictions which have now come into force.

Last week saw a total of 26.2 million ATM transactions which represents a decrease of 5.6 million ATM transactions over last week; in 2019 the drop was much greater with transactions falling by 14.3 million for the same week.

For 2020, this is a reduction of 10.9 million transactions when compared with the equivalent week in 2019.

Whilst a reduction in transactions was expected in line with the usual trends seen for this week of the year, the fall was less overall than in previous years. Thus cash usage was closest to that seen in 2019 for the first time since the Lockdown 1.0 – albeit the cause being a sharper reduction in 2019 rather than a change in the trend for 2020.

In 2019 cash usage gradually increased throughout January. With Tier 4 restrictions continuing and perhaps increasing across more areas, we are likely to see the gap widen again in 2021.

Source: LINK

Source: LINK

Weekly LINK ATM transaction volumes

Source: LINK

Last week ATM volumes reduced by 29% (compared to 2019).

Lockdown 1.0 vs Lockdown 2.0 vs Tier restrictions

The graph below demonstrates that post Lockdown 1.0 the weekly volume of ATM transaction rose from a low point of 20 million to circa 30 million at the point we entered Lockdown 2.0.

It then shows the impact as Lockdown 2.0 was ending – first an upward trend and then levelling out back at the levels seen prior to the local lockdowns in October.

The graph then reflects cash usage increasing in line with seasonal trends albeit more muted than in previous years. If this had continued we would have expected a further spike followed by a sharp decline at the end of December.

This graph has not yet been updated but in line with the data shown above we can see that although the graph will show a fall in the last week it is not as sharp as in previous years – perhaps buoyed by festive gifts and purchases ahead of the latest restrictions.

It will be interesting to see, as the restrictions continue, whether the current “floor” in cash usage is maintained or falls further in 2021.

Source: LINK

This latest chart from LINK (not yet updated for the current week) now tracks volume (blue) and value (red) – and we will continue to track the impact of Tier 3 and Tier 4 restrictions on our cash and digital payment habits over the final weeks of the year.

Daily ATM Volumes

Source: LINK

With the ending of national lockdowns on 2 December, as expected an increase in usage was seen with the reduction compared to 2019 at 32% rather than the 50% which occurred in the final week of lockdown.

A subsequent increase in activity in 2020 coupled with a slight fall in 2019 leaves the latest reduction shown at 30% – still a substantial difference compared with 2019.

Thus the impact on cash usage can still be seen from the sticky digital payment habits developed over the course of this year reinforced during each national and local lockdown.

Source: LINK

The graph above shows daily LINK values when compared to previous years – as expected, post lockdown, a similar trend has been reflected in the value of ATM transactions.

This has been something to watch, as despite all the various restrictions 21 December saw £238 million dispensed from Link ATMs, which was the highest for a Monday since the beginning of March.

Similarly, on 23 December, for the first time in many months the value withdrawn has exceeded that seen in 2019 – albeit significantly below 2015 which was the last time that Christmas Day fell on a Friday and thus the equivalent day of the week and date could be compared.

Monthly LINK ATM transaction volumes

Source: LINK

Monthly LINK ATM transaction volumes for November were 118 million with the second lockdown impacting activity following a static period over the last 4 months.


Lockdown 2.0 was only four weeks (#IOFW) and therefore although perhaps not long enough to cause a further shift in behaviour, it does appear to have reinforced the habits developed during the year with cash usage back to pre-second lockdown levels but no higher despite seasonal spikes seen at this time in previous years.

Now with Tier 4 restrictions resulting in the closure of non-essential stores and thus impacting traditional sales activity, it is likely that these digital habits will be further reinforced in this last week of 2020 and into 2021.

Rolling volume change (compared to 2019):

  • w/e 25 October 2020: –37%
  • w/e 1 November 2020: -38%
  • w/e 8 November 2020: -38%
  • w/e 15 November: -43%
  • w/e 22 November: -43%
  • w/e 29 November: -44%
  • w/e 6 December: -38%
  • w/e 13 December: -36%
  • w/e 20 December: -38%
  • w/e 27 December: -29%

Rolling value change (compared to 2019):

  • w/e 25 October 2020: -30%
  • w/e 1 November 2020: -30%
  • w/e 8 November 2020: -30%
  • w/e 15 November: -36%
  • w/e 22 November: – 36%
  • w/e 29 November: -39%
  • w/e 6 December: -29%
  • w/e 13 December: -28%
  • w/e 20 December: -33%
  • w/e 27 December: -18%

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