Weekly ATM value and volume figures 25 July 2021.
Key observations for the week ending 25 July 2021
- Last week the volume of ATM transactions increased by 3% when compared to the previous week in 2021.
- Last week the volume of ATM transactions decreased by 1% 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 31.2 million ATM transactions which represents an increase of 1.0 million ATM transactions over the previous week.
In 2021, there was a decrease of 0.2 million transactions or just 1% when compared with the equivalent week in 2020.
Thus ATM usage continues to track very closely to 2020 volumes, which is not unexpected as the equivalent period last year now reflects very similar conditions – i.e. non essential retail stores and indoor hospitality re-opened and although restrictions have now been lifted, as many people are proceeding with caution this has limited the uplift which may otherwise have been expected.
As can be seen, the overall pattern remains fairly consistent over the last few weeks in 2021, reflecting the constant level of restrictions or activity over this time.
From Lockdown 1.0, 2.0, Tiers & 3.0 to Steps 1 to 4 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.
Conditions are now 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 and then a gradual increase from January to March followed by the spikes at the end of March and in mid April as restrictions were eased at each of these stages.
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.
From July activity has been very closely matched across the two years but with the number of transactions in the last two weeks “crossing the line” and dropping below the previous year albeit the gap has narrowed again in the latter week.
It continues to look likely that a similar 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, there is a consistent underlying level of cash usage by those who need to rely on cash and by those who choose to rely on cash.
The overall volume and value of transactions had been subdued throughout each of the Lockdowns compared to pre-pandemic levels as shown in the next graph below. This graph shows the pattern as restrictions began to be eased and the volumes of transactions are moving back towards those seen just before Lockdown 1.0 – at the time of the graph volumes were back to c.78% of pre-pandemic levels. A similar picture is seen for transaction values – again at the time of the graph at 70% of pre-pandemic levels. Once all restrictions are fully lifted, 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.
Link have also provided the following graph to show the daily transactions from the end of June to the third week in July. There was a definite post Euro-2020 dip on Monday 12 July – however the weekend then mirrored 2020 almost exactly as had much of the previous month. ATM transactions continue to track very close to those in 2020 – although consistently still around 40% lower than 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 June 2021 volumes 40% lower than in 2019 and values down by 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. It is still 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 and value 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 6 June: +18%
- w/e 13 June: +18%
- w/e 20 June: +11%
- w/e 27 June: +9%
- w/e 4 July: +6%
- w/e 11 July: +1%
- w/e 18 July: -3%
- w/e 25 July: -1%
Rolling value change (compared to 2020)
- 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%
- w/e 11 July: +4%
- w/e 18 July: -2%
- w/e 25 July: +0.4%