Scotland’s ATM use declined most in UK during pandemic

Cash withdrawals via ATMs in Scotland’s Glasgow city fell 82% during the coronavirus pandemic which is more than anywhere else in the U.K., with the exception of London and Westminster, which were at a 91% decline, according to a report from the Insider.

The smallest decline in ATM interaction occurred in Liverpool Walton and Birmingham Hodge Hill, both which saw usage fall only 43%.

Nick Quinn, head of financial inclusion for Link, the shared interbank cash machine network in the U.K., is not alarmed by Scotland’s decline in ATM usage.

“Unsurprisingly, cash use fell during the lockdown; however, we shouldn’t rush to the conclusion that all roads lead to a cashless UK,” Quinn said. “We know from our own research that coronavirus will affect the future use of cash. However, what’s clear is that every individual community is different. Digital payments do not work for all consumers at all times, and it is the most vulnerable that are often most reliant on cash.”

Recent research from Link found consumers chose contactless and digital payments most during the height of the coronavirus pandemic, and nearly three-quarters or 73% of customers polled stated that the coronavirus pandemic will affect their future use of cash.

“Link believes that, to safeguard free access to cash in the longer term, legislation is needed, and we welcomed the Chancellor’s Budget commitment to legislate on this issue,” said Quinn. “However, with cash usage rapidly falling during Covid-19, it is now more important, and urgent, than ever.”