Will you visit an ATM this year?

Weekly ATM value and volume figures 17 January 2021.

Key observations for week ending 17 January:

  • Last week ATM transactions increased by just 0.2 million (when compared to the previous week).
  • Last week’s ATM transactions were 19.8 million less than the equivalent week in 2020.
  • With the impact from Lockdown 3.0 continuing, weekly ATM use has reduced by 47% (compared to the equivalent week at the beginning of 2020).

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, followed by a third national lockdown at the start of 2021. However, at the current time, transaction levels do appear to have stabilised at the same level as that seen in Lockdown 1.0.

Last week saw a total of 22.2 million ATM transactions which represents an increase of 0.2 million ATM transactions over last week.

For 2021, this is a reduction of 19.8 million transactions when compared with the equivalent week in 2020.

Source: LINK

The first graph below clearly shows the steady decline in cash usage in 2018 and 2019 followed by the steep drop in 2020 at the start of the first lockdown.

The second graph has been updated for the first 3 weeks of 2021 and with many non-essential shops and hospitality venues closed shows and government restrictions on travel being reinforced, the volume of ATM transactions remains in line with that seen at the beginning of Lockdown 1.0.

We will see if the trajectory remains in line or falls further during 2021. At the moment it looks as though the current floor is being maintained.

Source: LINK

Weekly LINK ATM transaction volumes

Source: LINK

Last week ATM volumes reduced by 47% (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 remainder 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 seen the gap widen further over the last week.

With Lockdown 3.0 now in course we are watching 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.

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.

Daily ATM Volumes

Source: LINK

The graph below shows daily LINK volumes at the start of 2021 when compared to 2020 and 2019.

Despite all the various restrictions in the previous week, 21 December had seen £238 million dispensed from Link ATMs, which was the highest for a Monday since the beginning of March.

This was also being reflected up until the end of the year in the volume of transactions, with the number each day closely following the trend seen on the equivalent day in 2020.

However since then, although the trend itself is very consistent, the impact of the wider Tier 4 restrictions and then Lockdown 3.0 commencing can clearly be seen in the reduced activity compared to the beginning of 2020.

This trend is likely to continue with the impact of Lockdown 3.0 in 2021. As this is likely to remain in place until March it will then be interesting to see the direct comparison between activity in Lockdown 3.0 and under similar conditions as Lockdown 1.0 began last year.

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 digital habits and the impact of restrictions has undoubtedly dampened cash usage overall and particularly in the final week of the year.

Monthly LINK ATM transaction volumes

Source: LINK


Lockdown 2.0 was only four weeks 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.

At the end of the year 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 the last week of 2020.

There is likely to be a further impact from Lockdown 3.0 although at present usage appears to have settled in line with Lockdown 1.0. However, if digital payment habits are further reinforced, we could see ATM transaction volumes fall again during 2021.

Rolling volume change (compared to 2019 & 2020):

  • 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%
  • w/e 10 January: – 46%
  • w/e 17 January: -47%

Rolling value change (compared to 2019 & 2020):

  • 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%
  • w/e 10 January: -37%
  • w/e 17 January: -39%

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