Weekly ATM value and volume figures 9 May 2021.

Key observations for the week ending 9 May 2021

  • Last week the volume of ATM transactions decreased by 9% when compared to the previous week in 2021.
  • Last week the volume of ATM transactions increased by 19% when compared to the equivalent week in 2020.
  • Last week the volume of ATM transactions decreased by 44% when compared to the equivalent week in 2019.

Weekly LINK ATM transaction volumes

Last week saw a total of 28 million ATM transactions which represents a decrease of 2.9 million ATM transactions over the previous week.

In 2021, there was an increase of 4.5 million transactions or 19% when compared with the equivalent week in 2020.

ATM usage remains ahead of 2020 as restrictions have eased further this year with the equivalent period in 2020 still reflecting activity during the first lockdown. The volume of transactions this year has fallen back slightly from the initial spike seen mid April when non essential stores re-opened and pubs and restaurants were allowed to serve customers in their outdoor seating and garden areas.

Source: LINK

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

We continue to retain this graph within the tracker as it shows the steady decline in cash usage in 2018 and 2019 with a similar rate of fall at the beginning of 2020, then followed by the steep drop at the start of the first lockdown as activity fell and many accelerated their use of digital and contactless payments. Had the year continued as normal it would probably have been just another year showing a gradual decline in the volume of cash transactions and a gradual increase in the use of digital payments.

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.

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 with the impact seen on ATM Transactions during the year. Weekly transactions in 2021 to date are also shown – firstly significantly below 2020 and then increasing above the previous year as restrictions are lifted compared to the same months in 2020 when restrictions were at their tightest.

Source: LINK

This next graph initially also reflects the impact at the beginning of 2021 from the closure of non-essential shops and hospitality venues and the discouragement of all but essential travel and then showing a gradual increase throughout Lockdown 3.0. The comparison with the pre-pandemic period at the beginning of 2020 is again clear to see.

As might be expected, a significant increase in ATM transactions is then seen from 12 April as pubs, restaurants (both outdoors only) and non essential shops reopened across England. The volume has fallen back in the last week although the trend overall shows activity continuing to increase.

Indeed, new data published by LINK on 6 May showed that compared to previous weeks in March an extra £200m had been withdrawn from cash machines across the UK per week. Additionally, with non-essential retail beginning to reopen 250 ATMs, mostly located within sites that were closed due to lockdown, are now working again. Transactions though are still only at 66% of where they were before the crisis as evidenced by the graph shown below.

LINK’s Director of Strategy, Graham Mott has commented in this latest report“This time last year, the UK was under a strict national lockdown, therefore ATM use is up considerably when compared to last April and is at a similar level to July 2020, when things were starting to reopen again. 

“Overall, I think it’s a positive picture. We know cash use is traditionally higher in hairdressers, pubs and restaurants. We can see that cash use in pubs is already increasing. Perhaps we will have a better picture when locations that perhaps don’t have beer gardens are able to open as well. Additionally, Northern Ireland, Scotland and Wales are a couple of weeks behind England, so are likely to see increased activity from those parts of the UK too.”

Source: LINK

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 continue to expect to see a consistent underlying level of cash usage throughout this year by those who need to rely on cash or by those who choose to rely on cash.

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.

The picture is then 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 continuing to track just ahead of 2020, we may now see a gradual upward trend as restrictions are further lifted during 2021.

Source: LINK

Predictions

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 did 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 throughout Lockdown 3.0.

At the present time, it still 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 gradually increase as restrictions are lifted over the course of the year.

Although the volume and value of transactions have decreased in the last week, we would expect to see an increase in both once hospitality venues are able to serve customers indoors and again once all restrictions are fully lifted.

Rolling volume change (compared to 2020)

  • w/e 21 March: -30%
  • w/e 28 March: +23%
  • w/e 4 April: +37%
  • w/e 11 April: +24%
  • w/e 18 April: +48%
  • w/e 25 April: +31%
  • w/e 2 May: +31%
  • w/e 9 May: +19%

Rolling value change (compared to 2020)

  • w/e 21 March: -27%
  • w/e 28 March: +28%
  • w/e 4 April: +50%
  • w/e 11 April +39%
  • w/e 18 April +59%
  • w/e 25 April +36%
  • w/e 2 May: +36%
  • w/3 9 May: +26%

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