Did you visit an ATM this week?

Weekly ATM value and volume figures 28 March 2021.

Key observations comparing the last “Stay at Home” week under Lockdown 3.0 with the first week experienced under Lockdown 1.0

  • Last week ATM transactions increased by 0.6 million (when compared to the previous week).
  • Last week’s ATM transactions were 4.9 million more than the equivalent week in 2020.
  • Weekly ATM use has increased by 23% (compared to the equivalent week in 2020.

Weekly LINK ATM transaction volumes

Last week saw a total of 26.1 million ATM transactions which represents an increase of 0.6 million ATM transactions over the previous week. We have now seen the convergence between the two years with transactions in 2021 overtaking those in 2020.

In 2021, there was an increase of 4.9 million transactions or 23% when compared with the equivalent week in 2020.

During the comparative week in 2020, that first week of Lockdown 1.0, there was a fall in the number of transactions of 15.1 million. Over the previous two weeks the number had exactly halved from 42.4 million to 21.2 million. Although the impact from Lockdown 3.0 is continuing, with some restrictions beginning to lift, both volumes and values are now greater than in 2020.

Source: LINK

Lockdown 1.0 & 2.0 vs Tier restrictions vs Lockdown 3.0 vs Roadmap out of Lockdown

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, although not as deep as that seen earlier in the year, followed by cash usage increasing again 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.

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 at the end of 2020 and at the very beginning of 2021.

Thus the impact on cash usage can 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 shows the trajectory through 2020 through each lockdown and easing of restrictions and clearly shows the impact of each on ATM Transactions during the year.

Source: LINK

This next graph, including transactions in 2021, shows the continued impact of the closure of non-essential shops and hospitality venues and the discouragement of all but essential travel during Lockdown 3.0. Although the volume of ATM transactions is significantly reduced, the pattern to date has followed that seen in previous years.

The volume has increased throughout January and February and now after falling back slightly in the first two weeks of March has again increased slightly over the last two weeks. The graph then clearly shows the steep fall in the number of transactions in the first week of Lockdown 1.0. With the trajectory for March continuing to increase the volume of ATM transactions can now be seen tracking ahead of 2020.

If the volume of transactions remain in line or just ahead of 2020 then it continues to look likely that the same floor in the number of transactions seen in 2020 will be seen during 2021. Thus, whilst digital payment habits have been reinforced during each lockdown, we would expect a consistent underlying level of cash usage to be maintained throughout this year by those who need to rely on or choose to rely on cash.

In the report published by LINK on 17 March 2021 – One year on: how Covid-19 changed the UK’s relationship with cash – LINK’s Director of Strategy, Graham Mott, is quoted as saying: “Broadly speaking, we saw a huge reduction in ATM withdrawals in the first lockdown and even in the summer, when shops and traditional ‘cash heavy’ locations like pubs and restaurants reopened, ATM use went up, but never recovered to where it was this time last year. However, it’s also clear that most people haven’t stopped using cash entirely. Cash is still popular to use as well as helping those on tight budgets

Source: LINK

Source: LINK

Daily LINK ATM transaction volumes

The graph below shows daily LINK volumes during March 2021 when compared to 2020 and 2019.

We can see the daily trend falling slightly in 2020 followed by the steep drop as Lockdown 1.0 began.

In the last week the picture is reversed with the daily trend again mirroring the previous year but 2021 tracking ahead of 2020.

Source: LINK

Monthly LINK ATM transaction volumes

LINK transaction volumes and values in January were affected by the various lockdowns across the UK and the volume of LINK transactions was down 46%, and values 38%, when compared to January 2020.

Monthly LINK ATM transaction volumes for February fell back by a further 1 million to 97.5 million as the impact from Lockdown 3.0 continued. 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, as the volume and value of ATM transactions continue to track just ahead of that seen during the first lockdown and it may be that we could now start to see a gradual upward trend month on month during 2021, mirroring the recovery seen during 2020 each time restrictions were lifted.

Source: LINK


After Lockdown 2.0, cash usage increased back to pre-second lockdown levels but no higher despite seasonal spikes seen in previous years and thus it does seem to have reinforced the digital habits developed during the year.

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.

At the present time, volumes in Lockdown 3.0 are tracking ahead of Lockdown 1.0.

If digital payment habits are further reinforced, we could see ATM transaction volumes fall again during 2021 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 2020)

  • w/e 7 February: -45%
  • w/e 14 February: -45%
  • w/e 21 February: -43%
  • w/e 28 February: -41%
  • w/e 7 March: -42%
  • w/e 14 March: -41%
  • w/e 21 March: -30%
  • w/e 28 March: +23%

Rolling value change (compared to 2020)

  • w/e 31 January: -38%
  • w/e 7 February: -35%
  • w/e 14 February: -37%
  • w/e 21 February: -34%
  • w/e 28 February: -34%
  • w/e 7 March: -33%
  • w/e 14 March: -34%
  • w/e 21 March: -27%
  • w/e 28 March: +28%

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