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Value of cash withdrawals up but ATM use down

Paloma Kubiak
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Paloma Kubiak

There has been an increase in the value of cash withdrawals from ATMs in the year to 2022, but their use is still considerably down.

ATM use is “unlikely to return to pre-pandemic levels”, according to LINK, the UK’s cash access and ATM network.

While it noted UK banking customers withdrew £83bn from cash machines in 2022, up from the £79bn in 2021, the number of transactions is down 40% since the pandemic.

The average withdrawal per person was £1,564 last year, up on the £1,462 figure recorded in 2021.

However, in 2019, the figure stood at £115bn.

LINK revealed Northern Ireland remains “the most cash heavy of the nations”, withdrawing an average £2,226 in 2022. Meanwhile, those in the South West withdrew less than half of this average at £1,069.

ATM cash withdrawals represent 90% of all cash withdrawals in the UK, but LINK revealed the number of ATMs has decreased from 52,547 to 51,253.

It said this was driven by a fall in the number of ATMs which charge users, whereas the number of free cashpoints slightly increased.

LINK added that 99.9% of UK high streets have free access to cash within 1km but in areas where locals don’t feel they have good enough access to cash, they can submit a community request initiative. Since 2019, more than 150 community free-to-use ATMs have been installed by LINK.

‘Very few people that are completely cashless’

Graham Mott, director of strategy, LINK: “These numbers aren’t surprising. It’s easy to forget that there was quite a significant lockdown at the beginning of 2021 and therefore 2022 was the first year we’ve had since 2019 where there were no interruptions. What we know is that our relationship with cash and ATMs has changed. While many people are now happy to use contactless or digital payments, our research shows there are very few people that are completely cashless. We also know that people are visiting cash machines less often, but on average take out more cash.

“It’s extremely good news that the Government is introducing legislation to help protect free access to cash. There are still over five million people who rely on access to cash and face-to-face banking services. Digital payments and banking may be fantastic for some, but at the moment, they don’t work for all, which is why this legislation is so important.”