Weekly ATM value and volume figures 23 May 2021.

Key observations for the week ending 23 May 2021

  • Last week the volume of ATM transactions increased by 1% when compared to the previous week in 2021.
  • Last week the volume of ATM transactions increased by 13% when compared to the equivalent week in 2020.
  • Last week the volume of ATM transactions decreased by 45% when compared to the equivalent week in 2019.

Weekly LINK ATM transaction volumes

Last week saw a total of 29.4 million ATM transactions which represents an increase of just 0.3 million ATM transactions over the previous week.

In 2021, there was an increase of 3.4 million transactions or 13% when compared with the equivalent week in 2020.

ATM usage remains ahead of 2020 as restrictions have eased this year with the equivalent period in 2020 still reflecting activity during the first lockdown. The volume of transactions this year has marginally increased but still remains just behind the initial spike seen in mid April when non essential stores and outdoor hospitality first re-opened.

Source: LINK

From Lockdown 1.0, 2.0, Tiers & 3.0 to the Roadmap out of Lockdown.

We continue to retain this graph within the tracker as it so clearly shows the steady decline in cash usage in 2018 and 2019 with a similar rate of fall at the beginning of 2020. This was 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, there would probably have just been another gradual decline in the volume of cash transactions and a gradual increase in the use of digital payments.

Source: LINK

This second graph also shows the trajectory during 2020 of ATM Transactions through each lockdown and the easing of restrictions.

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 second shallower dip during Lockdown 2.0, followed by cash usage increasing again as restrictions were lifted in many parts of the country. Increased Tier 4 restrictions from Boxing Day led to another sharp fall in cash usage at the end of 2020 continuing into the early months of 2021 under Lockdown 3.0.

In 2021 the volume and value of ATM Transactions were at firstly significantly below the equivalent months in 2020 and then increasing above the previous year as restrictions have lifted compared to 2020 when restrictions were at their tightest.

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Source: LINK

This next graph also reflects the initial impact from Lockdown 3.0 but a gradual increase from January to March can then be seen followed by the spikes at the end of March and mid April as restrictions were eased at each of these stages.

Data published by LINK on 6 May showed that following the easing of restrictions, 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 having reopened, 250 ATMs, mostly located within sites that were closed due to lockdown, are now working again.

LINK’s Director of Strategy, Graham Mott has commented in this latest report“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 were 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.

Overall levels though are likely to remain subdued compared to pre-pandemic levels as shown in the graph below – with volumes at 67% of pre-pandemic levels and values at around 72%.

Source: LINK

Daily LINK ATM transaction volumes

The graph below shows daily LINK ATM transaction volumes during May 2021.

This daily picture shows a flat level of transactions during the week with a spike each weekend. Initially, for the first few days after the indoor hospitality and leisure reopening on 17 May it would appear that this has not, as yet, led to increased activity although the poor weather during the week did not help – perhaps simply replacing outdoor activity with indoor. However figures for last weekend have shown that there was a 7% increase in cash withdrawn compared to the previous week – therefore we would expect a further spike when this graph is next updated.

Source: LINK

Monthly LINK ATM transaction volumes

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

As restrictions have been lifted throughout March we can see activity increasing with ATM Transaction volumes increasing by 17% compared to February – monthly LINK ATM Transactions thus increasing to 114 million in March 2021.

The easing of restrictions has led to a further 8% increase in April 2021 (when compared to March 2021) with the volume increasing to 123 million.

With the volume and value of ATM transactions continuing to track ahead of 2020, we would now expect to see a gradual upward trend as restrictions are lifted further during 2021.

However the overall impact of the pandemic on cash transactions can also be seen with volumes in April 2021 44% lower than in 2019 and values down 34%.

Source: LINK

The graph below shows the impact of the various lockdowns in the average withdrawal amount which has increased during each lockdown – over the last 14 months the average has been £81, with the pre-pandemic average being £67. This would appear to be due to non essential trips being discouraged and this led to fewer outings and thus more cash withdrawn each time. With leisure and hospitality closed there were also fewer opportunities for lower value spontaneous cash requirements.

Lockdown 3.0 was no exception, with a small drop as restrictions have eased albeit average values are still very high compared to historic values.

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.

However, 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.

Rolling volume change (compared to 2020)

  • 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%
  • w/e 16 May: +20%
  • w/e 23 May: +13%

Rolling value change (compared to 2020)

  • 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/e 9 May: +26%
  • w/e 16 May: +23%
  • w/e 23 May: +1%

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