Many argued it was already on the way out…but new figures released by ATM network operator Link show that Covid-19 may well represent the final nail in the coffin for the widespread use of hard currency in the UK.
A raft of new stats covering the period of the pandemic to date show that the number of cash withdrawals plummeted by 65 per cent in April, and despite bouncing back somewhat in summer, were still down as of the end of October by over a third on the same time last year.
Tellingly, some of the most pronounced falls in cash withdrawals occurred within Scotland’s central belt, which (prior to the latest lockdown) was subject to some of the most draconian lockdown policies anywhere in the UK.
Indeed, Link’s figures show a massive 70.5 per cent annual decrease in ATM uptake in Glasgow Central, something which the company’s head of financial inclusion Nick Quin said was likely due to “the fact that people aren’t visiting busy city centres” whilst lockdown policies are in effect.
“We can see that some communities are far more reliant on cash and quite often cards and digital payments don’t work for everyone,” he continued. “Covid-19 has changed payment habits, possibly forever, but cash still remains important and it’s vital we protect it.”