68% of adults in the UK have used cash in the past two weeks
Issue 378 | 31 August 2022
The UK’s cash habits
As the reduced use of cash in the UK reflects the wider transition to a digital society it is easy to forget the role cash still plays in the UK’s payment mix.
Each week Northey Point analyses the ATM use data released by LINK and publishes a tracker of the UK’s daily, weekly and monthly cash habits (using LINK’s ATM transactional data as a proxy for cash use).
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Headline cash fact
68% of adults in the UK have used cash in the past two weeks to pay for something. This is slightly lower than in February (71%) when the research was last conducted.
ATM use in the UK
For the week ending 28 August 2022 the volume of ATM transactions:
decreased by 25% when compared to the final week before the first COVID lockdown.
increased by 6% when compared to the previous week in 2022.
decreased by 4% when compared to the equivalent week in 2021.
decreased by 5% when compared to the equivalent week in 2020.
Daily LINK ATM transaction volumes
The graph below from LINK shows Thursdays’ transactions over the last four years clearly showing the fall in 2020 as the first Lockdown was announced.
At the time the graph was produced, the volume of transactions was the same as the last two years for the equivalent day. Once a later graph is available it is likely to show transactions in August 2022 just below those for the equivalent period over the previous two years.
The following graph depicts the daily withdrawal value again across the last four years.
The last three years daily withdrawal values continue to be almost identical following the lifting of the restrictions in 2021 and 2020.
However August Bank Holiday withdrawals are clearly down on the last two years – possibly a shift in spending or more holidaying abroad as mentioned above?
The following graph shows a slight but definite increase in the percentage of balance enquiries. They always rose in lockdowns but is this a reaction to the cost-of-living with more people wanting to check their balances before withdrawing cash?
LINK, the UK’s cash access and ATM network, has published its latest data showing how people are responding to the cost of living and managing their day-to-day finances. For more than two years, LINK has been conducting regular research to help understand how cash use is changing in response to COVID-19. While most people and businesses are beginning to move on from the pandemic, this research, conducted in June 2022, looks to identify whether these attitudes are changing in the wake of the rising cost of living in the UK.
The research showed that 10% plan to save money by using contactless less and 9% intend to use cash more frequently. For this latter group, the most popular reasons for intending to use cash more frequently were that doing so
gives them a better idea of how much they’re spending (63%)
helps them to spend less (58%)
helps them to keep track of spending (57%)
and helps with budgeting (57%)
In relation to cash, 68% of adults in the UK have used cash in the past two weeks to pay for something. This is slightly lower than in February (71%) when the research was last conducted.
Graham Mott, LINK, Director of Strategy: “There really is a digital divide for those who are and aren’t comfortable using digital payments. For some, card and digital payments mean they can track all their spending online or on the mobile banking. Yet, for many, especially those on fixed or lower incomes, there is no better substitute for budgeting to cash. Not everyone has access to cards or digital payments and they know exactly how much money they have when paying in cash for the bus or in the local shop.”
Weekly LINK ATM transaction volumes
Last week there was a total of 32 million ATM transactions which represents an increase of 1.7 million ATM transactions over the previous week.
In 2022, there was a decrease of 1.5 million transactions or 4% when compared with the equivalent week in 2021.
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