Will you visit an ATM this week?

Weekly ATM value and volume figures 11 April 2021.

Key observations for week ending 11 April 2021

  • Last week ATM transactions decreased by 2.4 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 24% compared to the equivalent week in 2020.

Weekly LINK ATM transaction volumes

Last week saw a total of 25.4 million ATM transactions which represents a decrease of 2.4 million ATM transactions over the previous week.

In 2021, there was an increase of 4.9 million transactions or 24% when compared with the equivalent week in 2020.

During the comparative week in 2020, there was a small increase of 0.2 million transactions but with activity remaining at around 50% of previous levels during the initial weeks of the first lockdown.

We now see ATM usage remaining ahead of 2020 and likely to increase further as restrictions are lifted, particularly with the opening of non essential stores and hospitality and leisure venues.

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 increased throughout January and February, falling back slightly in the first two weeks of March and then increasing again over the second half of the month. Volumes increased further in the first week of April perhaps caused by the lifting of some restrictions particularly over the Easter weekend. Volumes have fallen back over the last week although the trajectory is in line with previous years and with the final week of closure for non essential stores and hospitality venues still dampening overall activity.

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 continue to 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 2021 fell back by a further 1 million to 97.5 million as the impact from Lockdown 3.0 continued.

As restrictions have been lifted throughout March we can see activity increasing with both ATM Transaction volumes and values increasing by 17% compared to February – monthly LINK ATM Transactions thus increasing to 114 million for the month.

However with three weeks of normal activity in 2020 ahead of Lockdown 1.0, overall transactions for March have fallen by 26% compared to the previous year and they are 50% below that seen in 2019.

With the volume and value of ATM transactions continue to track just ahead of 2020 we may now see a gradual upward trend as restrictions are further lifted during 2021.

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 last 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 and then to date throughout Lockdown 3.0.

However, at the present time, it does not look like there will be a further significant move from cash to digital during 2021 and our expectation is that we will see the volume and value of ATM cash transactions now gradually increase as restrictions are lifted over the course of the year.

Rolling volume change (compared to 2020)

  • 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%
  • w/e 4 April: +37%
  • w/e 11 April: +24%

Rolling value change (compared to 2020)

  • 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%
  • w/e 4 April: +50%
  • w/e 11 April: +39%

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