Weekly ATM value and volume figures 4 July 2021.
Key observations for the week ending 4 July 2021
- Last week the volume of ATM transactions increased by 4% when compared to the previous week in 2021.
- Last week the volume of ATM transactions increased by 6% when compared to the equivalent week in 2020.
- Last week the volume of ATM transactions decreased by 39% when compared to the equivalent week in 2019.
Weekly LINK ATM transaction volumes
Last week saw a total of 32.1 million ATM transactions which represents an increase of 1.2 million ATM transactions over the previous week.
In 2021, there was an increase of 1.9 million transactions or 6% when compared with the equivalent week in 2020.
Thus ATM usage remains just ahead of 2020 with the equivalent period last year now reflecting the re-opening of non essential retail stores and just catching the first day of the re-opening of indoor hospitality in 2020.
The overall total volume of ATM transactions also remains ahead of the first spike seen in the middle of April this year when outdoor hospitality first re-opened and just behind the bank holiday weekend at the end of May. However the pattern seen has been fairly consistent over these last few weeks reflecting the constant level of restrictions remaining in place over this time.
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.
This second graph also shows the trajectory of ATM Transactions through each lockdown and the easing of restrictions at each stage.
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.
Non essential retail opened in June 2020 but it is at this point in time that the conditions are at their closest over the two years with hospitality re-opening at the beginning of July 2020 and with businesses operating under similar restrictions to those currently in place in 2021. The convergence of the graphs shows a consistent level of ATM transactions and value across the two years under these similar conditions.
This next graph also reflects the initial impact from Lockdown 3.0 but then a gradual increase from January to March can be seen followed by the spikes at the end of March and in mid April as restrictions were eased at each of these stages.
We have now seen the actual results from this further relaxation in the hospitality sector. The spike at the beginning of May co-incided with good weather over the first bank holiday and whilst the results from the further easing mid May were perhaps dampened by the weather, a further spike occurred over the second bank holiday and weekly transactions have settled around this level.
Currently, for the remainder of June 2021, we have all sectors operating with social distancing in place compared to the situation in 2020 with non-essential retail open but hospitality still closed. The year on year comparison for the initial weeks in July will be interesting as over this time the conditions which will remain in place in 2021 are similar to those which were in place over the Summer of 2020 and thus allow a more direct comparison of cash activity across the 2 years – and at the moment the two years are closely matched. We will then see how the further removal of restrictions in 2021, particularly with the relaxing of social distancing requirements, impacts the level of activity and the consequential impact on cash transactions.
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 the remainder of 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 had been subdued throughout each of the Lockdowns compared to pre-pandemic levels as shown in the graph below. With the graph below showing the patterns as restriction are easing, the volumes of transactions again moving back towards those seen just before Lockdown 1.0 – currently at c.76% of pre-pandemic levels. A similar picture is seen for transaction values – currently at 70%. Once all restrictions are lifted later this month the true level of cash usage will be evident and it will be interesting to see the percentage comparisons achieved at that time.
Daily LINK ATM transaction volumes
The graph below shows daily LINK ATM transaction volumes for each Wednesday in 2021 through to the end of May.
This daily picture shows a gradual increase from the end of January with a spike at the end of March and mid April co-inciding with the easing of restrictions on these dates . Initially, for the first few days after indoor hospitality and leisure reopened on 17 May it would appear that this did not initially lead to increased activity although the poor weather probably did not help – perhaps simply replacing outdoor activity with indoor. However approaching the Bank holiday weekend and with the weather improving the final Wednesday shown had the highest number of transactions so far this year – albeit as shown on all graphs – some way below the pre-pandemic levels in 2019.
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. Restrictions were only introduced towards the end of March 2020 and thus volumes in March 2021 were still 26% below the number seen in March 2020.
The easing of restrictions has led to an 8% increase in April 2021 (when compared to March 2021) with the volume increasing to 123.2 million and similarly by a further 6% in May 2021 with transaction volumes increasing to 131 million.
Restrictions have not changed in June and thus as may be expected the total volume of transactions for the month has eased up only slightly at 132.9 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 still be seen with volumes in June 2021 currently 40% lower than in 2019 and values down 31%.
The total number of ATM transactions fell from 2608.4 million in 2019 to 1642.6 million in 2020 – a fall of 37%. The total as at the end of June 2021 for this year to date is 697.0 million – a fall of 17% over the same period in 2020. However the higher value per transaction is evident with values to date only reducing by 9%. With volumes and values tracking ahead of 2020, this gap should continue to reduce over the remainder of the year.
The graph below shows the impact of the various lockdowns in the average withdrawal amount. The average withdrawal value increased by almost £20 to over £85 during the first lockdown . 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. This was reinforced during each lockdown and the average withdrawal has continued to be high ever since with only a modest fall last Summer.
This year, we have seen the average value fall once again as restrictions are lifted but the average value remains high. Thus, while some restrictions remain in place this behaviour looks likely to continue although it is too early to see whether the pandemic has permanently changed consumers’ behaviour or if values will revert to pre-pandemic levels once all restrictions are lifted.
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. This was again seen in the Tier 4 restrictions and throughout Lockdown 3.0.
With such a sharp drop in ATM transactions during 2020 a further shift from cash to digital may have been the expectation for 2021 but this still does not look likely given the volume of ATM transactions seen to date.
Although more may move to digital solutions over time, a considerable number are still reliant on or are choosing to rely on traditional payment methods including cash. This is reflected in the consistent underlying level of ATM cash transactions seen and – for 2021 at least – a further significant year on year change – is not expected to occur.
Rolling volume change (compared to 2020)
- w/e 16 May: +20%
- w/e 23 May: +13%
- w/e 30 May: +23%
- w/e 6 June: +18%
- w/e 13 June: +18%
- w/e 20 June: +11%
- w/e 27 June: +9%
- w/e 4 July: +6%
Rolling value change (compared to 2020)
- w/e 16 May: +23%
- w/e 23 May: +1%
- w/e 30 May: +23%
- w/e 6 June: +16%
- w/e 13 June: +16%
- w/e 20 June: +11%
- w/e 27 June: +9%
- w/e 4 July: +6%