Consumers withdrew £81bn from ATMs in 2023

Posted: 13th June 2024

New data published by LINK, the UK’s cash access and ATM network, reveals that consumers withdrew £81 billion from ATMs in 2023. The figures show a slight decrease in the overall yearly total of cash withdraws compared to 2022, when UK banking customers withdrew £83 billion from cash machines.

In total, adults over the age of 16, made 975 million visits to cash machines in 2023, approximately 15 trips to the ATM per person, withdrawing a total of £1,484 in 2023, down from £1,564 in 2022.

ATMs represent 93% of all cash withdrawals in the UK, ahead of counter transactions at bank branches and Post Offices.

Regional differences:

Across the UK, Northern Ireland remains the most cash heavy part of the UK with Northern Irish banking customers withdrawing an average £2,340, the only Region to see an increase in cash withdrawals per person in 2023.

The second and third cash heaviest regions were the North-East (£1,718) and London (£1,684). ATM use was lowest in the South-West, where the average customer withdrew £1,064 followed closely behind by the South-East (£1,145).

ATM numbers:

LINK’s role is protect the footprint of cash use across the UK. As cash use continues to decline, the number of ATMs has fallen. By the end of 2023, there were five per cent less cash machines than at the end of 2022 (51,253 vs 48,401). LINK expects this number to continue to decrease.

There are currently 38,480 free to use machines down from 40,869 at the end of 2022. There are also 9,921 charging ATMs, down from 10,384 on the previous year.

LINK research on ATM use:

Over the past four years, LINK has been regularly conducting polling data to understand the changing payment habits of UK adults.

In an average week in 2023, £1.5bn was withdrawn from UK cash machines. This is significantly down on pre-pandemic numbers, where £2.2bn was withdrawn in 2019 and LINK does not expect to see a return to these levels. However, as more people become comfortable using contactless and digital payments, alongside more shops accepting non-cash payments, ATM use, alongside cash use has changed.

What LINK saw through the pandemic and ensuing lockdowns was that people who used to visit ATMs a couple of times per week switched to once a week or fortnight. This habit has largely continued but with customers typically withdrawing £85 each visit compared to £65 pre pandemic.

Despite debit cards being the most popular form of payment, 70 per cent of UK adults say they regularly use cash. The most popular locations for cash use are convenience stores and supermarkets. Nearly half of people have been somewhere that has not accepted, or has discouraged, the use of cash. The most common places where this has happened is in restaurants, cafes or paying for parking.

FCA Consultation:

In 2023, the Government passed legislation as part of the Financial Services and Markets Act to protect access to cash. The Financial Conduct Authority is currently undertaking a Consultation Paper that will set out the rules under statue on how banks will protect provision in local communities. LINK’s role is to independently assess the needs of a location following the closure of a bank branch. Communities can also request LINK to assess their high street if they believe it lacks appropriate cash services. To date, LINK has recommended more than 100 banking hubs and over 100 deposit services to support cash in the community. These are being delivered by Cash Access UK.

Graham Mott, Director of Strategy, LINK: Overall, cash and ATM use has been slowly declining over the past year. While we saw a steep fall in withdrawals during the pandemic, typically around £1.5bn is still withdrawn from cash machines every week. We know that more people are shopping online and paying for things using their debit card or phone, however, cash remains popular and our research shows its importance when helping people across all age groups to budget.

“Long term LINK expects cash machine numbers to continue to fall. These are generally in busy city and town centres, where there are quite often five or ten on one street or in supermarkets, where three machines may become two or one. What’s important is that we continue to make sure consumers’ free access to cash does not decline and we protect every high street. The good news is that there is now a law to protect access to cash. Alongside ATMs, LINK will continue recommend new banking hubs and deposit services that will protect cash services across the UK.”


Categories: ATMs