Will you visit an ATM this week?

Weekly ATM value and volume figures 31 January 2021.

Key observations for week ending 31 January:

  • Last week ATM transactions increased by 1.9 million (when compared to the previous week).
  • Last week’s ATM transactions were 21.2 million less than the equivalent week in 2020.
  • With the impact from Lockdown 3.0 continuing, weekly ATM use has reduced by 46% (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 the third national lockdown at the start of 2021. At the current time, transaction levels still appear to have stabilised at the same level as that seen in Lockdown 1.0.

Last week saw a total of 24.5 million ATM transactions which represents an increase of 1.9 million ATM transactions over the previous week.

For 2021, this is a reduction of 21.2 million transactions when compared with the equivalent week in 2020.

Thus, the actual increase in ATM transactions over the last week was in line with 2020 but at a significantly lower level in total.

Source: LINK

Last week ATM volumes reduced by 46% (compared to 2020).

Source: LINK

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

The first graph below clearly shows the steady decline in cash usage in 2018 and 2019 with a similar rate of fall at the beginning of 2020 but then followed by the steep drop at the start of the first lockdown.

After 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 a further dip during Lockdown 2.0 followed by cash usage increasing as restrictions were lifted in many places across the country. This increase was in line with seasonal trends albeit more muted than in previous years.

However, in the week before Christmas the volume of transactions was the closest to 2019 than had occurred since the first lockdown.

With Tier 4 restrictions in many more areas from Boxing Day, cash usage again fell sharply and we saw the gap widen further since that time.

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

This second graph has now been updated for the first month of 2021 and with non-essential shops and hospitality venues closed and government restrictions on travel being reinforced, the volume of ATM transactions was initially exactly in line with that seen at the beginning of Lockdown 1.0.

However, it can be seen that the volume has increased during January and although initially more gradual, in the last week this has followed the same trajectory as that seen in 2020. Therefore at present although the volume remains significantly below the same period in 2020, ATM transactions are now slightly ahead of the lowest point seen during Lockdown 1.0.

Therefore, given we are one month into Lockdown 3.0, it looks as though the floor in the number of transactions seen in 2020 is likely to be maintained during 2021.

Source: LINK

Daily LINK ATM transaction volumes

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 may 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

Monthly LINK ATM transaction volumes for January fell back to 98.5 million from the seasonal increase in December, with the impact seen from Lockdown 3.0. Therefore although there was some recovery at the end of 2020, it is likely that the current lockdown will reinforce the digital payment habits as happened throughout each period of restriction in 2020.

Source: LINK


Lockdown 2.0 did not appear to have been long enough to cause a further shift in behaviour but it does seem to have reinforced the habits developed during the year. After the lockdown, cash usage increased back to pre-second lockdown levels but no higher despite seasonal spikes seen 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 again 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, although on experience to date it seems that this may be a gradual fall during this year, rather than a further significant change as witnessed in 2020.

Rolling volume change (compared to 2019 & 2020):

  • 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%
  • w/e 24 January: -48%
  • w/e 31 January: -46%

Rolling value change (compared to 2019 & 2020):

  • 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%
  • w/e 24 January: -40%
  • w/e 31 January: -38%

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