Withdrawals from cash machines in the UK have fallen by £37bn during the 12 months of the Covid pandemic.
Cash machine network Link said the number of visits to ATMs had fallen by 43 percent compared with the previous 12 months. However, the amount withdrawn on each cash machine visit has gone up, from an average of £67 to £84.
Covid restrictions have meant 4,000 fewer free ATMs are in operation, and while some may be restored, it remains likely that further cuts to the 41,000 free-to-use machines will come in the next few years.
Natalie Ceeney, who chaired an independent review on access to cash, said that cash refusal by retailers was “creeping into the UK economy”. She added that cash’s post-Covid revival will depend on whether old habits will return to places such as pubs and hairdressers, which have traditionally seen high cash use. Indeed, when pubs properly reopen on 17 May, pub and single site machine operators alike will be watching eagerly to see if cash does make a comeback, or if cashless has truly taken hold for customers. Operators will be keen to see how this affects pub machine takings as many continue to weigh up the benefits of implementing a cashless solution.