Five facts about ATM use

New data published by LINK, the UK’s main cash machine network, shows a continuing decline in ATM use in 2021 as UK banking customers withdrew £79bn from cash machines compared to £81bn in 2020.

Five facts about ATM use in 2021

  • £79bn was withdrawn from ATMs in 2021 (£81bn in 2020).

  • The number of LINK ATM cash withdrawals fell by 6% year-on-year (40% decline between 2020 and 2019).

  • The average customer withdrew £1,462 from cash machines in 2021.

  • The average withdrawal per person over 16 in the UK was £1,462 last year, visiting an ATM around 18 times.

  • Northern Ireland remains the most cash heavy of the nations with Northern Irish banking customers withdrawing an average £2,070 in 2021 (compared £2,931 in 2019).

In the second half of last year the numbers were similar to what we saw in 2020. This is beginning to feel like the new normal and we don’t expect the number of transactions, or the amounts withdrawn, to return to anything like pre-pandemic levels. In fact, what we’re generally seeing is that consumers that are using ATMs have formed a new habit of visiting less often but withdrawing more cash each time they visit, typically £10-£15 more.

Anecdotally, locations such as markets or even pubs that pre-pandemic only accepted cash, now all have card readers and continue to actively encourage contactless payments. Therefore, some consumers who are confident using digital or contactless payments, now use cash less often than they did pre-pandemic and seem unlikely to ever revert back. However, we know that there are still more than five million people who rely on cash and digital payments are not an option. It’s therefore good news that while ATM and cash use may have fallen, LINK is committed to protecting access and the Government says it will be bringing forward legislation to support access to cash

Graham Mott, Director of Strategy, LINK

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