Did you visit an ATM last year?

Weekly ATM value and volume figures 3 January 2021.

Key observations for week ending 3 January:

  • Last week ATM transactions decreased by 5.6 million (when compared to the previous week).
  • Last week’s ATM transactions were 17.9 million less than the equivalent week in 2019.
  • After some recovery during December weekly ATM use reduced by 46% (compared to the 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 came into effect at the end of last year.

Last week saw a total of 20.6 million ATM transactions which represents a decrease of 5.6 million ATM transactions over last week; in 2019, with post Christmas sales and activity, the recovery in cash usage had begun with an increase of 1.4 million transactions compared with the previous week.

For 2020, this is a reduction of 17.9 million transactions when compared with the equivalent week in 2019.

With many more non-essential shops and hospitality venues closed due to the Tier 4 restrictions, cash usage has fallen back to similar levels as that seen at the beginning of Lockdown 1.0.

With Lockdown 3.0 now in place, the gap is likely to widen again in 2021 as digital and online payment habits may be further entrenched during the coming weeks.

Source: LINK

Source: LINK

Weekly LINK ATM transaction volumes

Source: LINK

Last week ATM volumes reduced by 46% (compared to 2019).

Lockdown 1.0 vs Lockdown 2.0 vs Tier restrictions and now Lockdown 3.0..

The graph below has not yet been updated for the whole of December but we can see 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.

In line with the data shown above we can see that although the graph will show a fall in the week before Christmas it was not as sharp as in previous years and thus usage was the closest to 2019 than had occurred since the first lockdown.

However, with Tier 4 restrictions in many more areas from Boxing Day, cash usage again fell sharply and we have therefore seen the gap widen further over the last week.

With Lockdown 3.0 now in course it will be interesting to see whether cash usage remains in line with Lockdown 1.0 or if there is a further shift in payment habits during this time.

Source: LINK

This latest chart from LINK (not yet updated for the current week) tracks volume (blue) and value (red) and we will continue to track the impact of the Tier restrictions on our cash and digital payment habits over the final weeks of the year. We will also see the impact from Lockdown 3.0 as we track cash usage in 2021.

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.

This occurred again at the end of the year although overall it does just appear to be isolated occurrences on certain days, as the value of overall ATM transactions fell by 41% when comparing usage across the whole week.

This trend is likely to continue with the impact of Lockdown 3.0 in 2021.

Monthly LINK ATM transaction volumes

Source: LINK

Monthly LINK ATM transaction volumes for December were 128.6 million with a seasonal boost to activity following Lockdown 2.0. However, although there was some recovery during the month the ongoing impact of restrictions has undoubtedly dampened cash usage overall and particularly in the final week of the year.


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, we saw that these digital habits were reinforced in this last week of 2020. There is likely to be a further impact from Lockdown 3.0 during the early months of 2021.

Rolling volume change (compared to 2019):

  • 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%
  • w/e 3 January: -46%

Rolling value change (compared to 2019):

  • 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%
  • w/e 3 January: -41%

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