Issue 225 | 22 December 2021
In this edition of Payments:Unpacked Tracker we take an in-depth look at the latest values and volumes of cash acquisition through the UK’s LINK ATM network.
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Weekly ATM value and volume figures 19 December 2021
For the week ending 19 December 2021 the volume of ATM transactions:
decreased by 37% when compared to the equivalent week in 2019.
increased by 2% when compared to the equivalent week in 2020.
increased by 5% when compared to the previous week in 2021.
Weekly LINK ATM transaction volumes
Last week there was a total of 32.5 million ATM transactions which represents an increase of 1.6 million ATM transactions over the previous week.
In 2021, there was a increase of 0.7 million transactions or 2% when compared with the equivalent week in 2020.
Since the Summer, the volume of ATM transactions had been tracking very closely to 2020. However, the paths for 2020 and 2021 diverged at the beginning of November reflecting the difference in conditions as the impact last year from the second lockdown could be seen. The divergence though was caused by the reduction in the volume of transactions in 2020 rather than any growth in the current year with activity in 2021 remaining steady as evidenced in the second graph below.
Last week the graphs are once again merging as caution increased for 2021 in the light of the new variant as well as the re-introduction of some restrictions. Meanwhile 2020 transactions saw an increase as many areas emerged from Lockdown 2.0 albeit with similar levels of restrictions in place to the current time.
This second graph shows the impact at the beginning of Lockdown 3.0 and then a gradual increase from January to March followed by the spikes at the end of March and mid April as restrictions were eased at each of these stages and increased activity over the May bank holidays with fairly consistent volumes seen since that time.
Since July with the exception of Lockdown 2.0 in 2020, activity has been very closely matched across the two years and it looks like this floor in the volume of transactions will be maintained during the remainder of 2021. Whilst digital payment habits were reinforced during each lockdown, there continues to be a consistent underlying level of cash usage by those who need to rely on cash and by those who choose to rely on cash.
This next graph also shows the trajectory of ATM Transactions through each lockdown and the easing of restrictions at each stage.
In 2021 the volume and value of ATM Transactions were at firstly significantly below the equivalent months in 2020 and then increasing above the previous year as restrictions lifted compared to 2020 when restrictions were at their tightest.
Conditions were at their closest over the two years over the Summer with hospitality re-opening at the beginning of July 2020 and with businesses operating under similar restrictions to those currently in place in 2021. The convergence of the graphs shows a consistent level of ATM transactions and value across the two years under these similar conditions.
The overall volume and value of transactions had been very subdued throughout each of the Lockdowns compared to pre-pandemic levels as shown in the next graph below.
This graph shows the pattern as restrictions began to be eased with volumes now back to c.72% of pre-pandemic levels. A similar picture is seen for transaction values – at c.85% of pre-pandemic levels.
As recently reported by LINK, currently in 2021, whilst out and about had been feeling more normal, ATM withdrawal values are still 24% down on pre-Covid levels and high streets are still reporting 16.5% less shoppers and shopping centres 22% less – thus volumes and values are remaining subdued overall.
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