Weekly ATM value and volume figures 7 February 2021.
Key observations for week ending 7 February:
- Last week ATM transactions decreased by 0.6 million (when compared to the previous week).
- Last week’s ATM transactions were 19.6 million less than the equivalent week in 2020.
- With the impact from Lockdown 3.0 continuing, weekly ATM use has reduced by 45% (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 23.9 million ATM transactions which represents a decrease of 0.6 million ATM transactions over the previous week.
For 2021, this is a reduction of 19.6 million transactions when compared with the equivalent week in 2020.
Thus, the number of ATM transactions has fallen back slightly in the last week following a pattern seen in previous years. However the overall number, although significantly below that seen in February 2020, is still tracking slightly ahead of that seen at the beginning of Lockdown 1.0.
Last week ATM volumes reduced by 45% (compared to 2020).
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.
This second graph, updated for the first weeks of 2021, shows the continued impact of the closure of non-essential shops and hospitality venues and the government discouraging all but essential travel. Although the volume of ATM transactions is significantly less the pattern is closely following that seen in previous years
Therefore, it can be seen that the volume has increased during January and although decreasing slightly in the first week of February, the volume of transactions remains slightly ahead of the lowest point seen at the beginning of Lockdown 1.0.
Therefore it still looks likely that the floor in the number of transactions seen in 2020 will be maintained during 2021. Thus, whilst digital payment habits have been reinforced during each lockdown, there appears to be a consistent underlying level of cash usage that is not as yet showing any signs that it will be materially impacted this year.
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.
As the restrictions are unlikely to be lifted significantly before the end of March, it will be interesting to see the direct comparison between activity in Lockdown 3.0 and under similar conditions as Lockdown 1.0 began last year.
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.
That said, the volume and value of ATM transactions continue to track just ahead of that seen in April during the first lockdown and it may be that we could see a gradual upward trend month on month during 2021, mirroring the recovery seen during 2020 each time restrictions were lifted.
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. If digital payment habits are further reinforced, we could see ATM transaction volumes fall again during 2020 although if this occurs it is likely to be a gradual reduction rather than the sharp drop seen last year.
However, if a further significant move to digital does not occur, we could see the volume and value of ATM cash transactions gradually increase throughout this year as restrictions are lifted.
Rolling volume change (compared to 2019 & 2020):
- 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%
- w/e 7 February: -45%
Rolling value change (compared to 2019 & 2020):
- 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%
- w/e 7 February: -35%