Published on 21 January 2022
  • Number of LINK ATM cash withdrawals falls 6% year-on-year, compared to a 40% decline between 2020 and 2019
  • Average customer withdrew £1,462 from cash machines in 2021

New data published today by LINK, the UK’s main cash machine network, shows a continuing decline in ATM use in 2021 as UK banking customers withdrew £79bn from cash machines compared to £81bn in 2020. There was also a 7% decline in total ATM transactions last year, which includes cash withdrawals and balance enquiries, falling from just over 1.6bn billion to 1.5bn.

This means the average withdrawal per person over 16 in the UK was £1,462 last year, visiting an ATM around 18 times.

In recent years, consumers have increasingly been using alternative methods such as contactless cards as well as shopping online. Before the Coronavirus pandemic, ATM transactions were typically declining 10% year-on-year. However, following lockdowns and Government restrictions, 2020 saw a 40% decline in the number of withdrawals compared to 2019 with the total value withdrawn falling from £116bn in 2019 to £81bn in 2020.

Across the UK, Northern Ireland remains the most cash heavy of the nations with Northern Irish banking customers withdrawing an average £2,070 in 2021 compared to the South-West, where the average customer withdrew £1,023.

Graham Mott, Director of Strategy, LINK: “In the second half of last year the numbers were similar to what we saw in 2020. This is beginning to feel like the new normal and we don’t expect the number of transactions, or the amounts withdrawn, to return to anything like pre-pandemic levels. In fact, what we’re generally seeing is that consumers that are using ATMs have formed a new habit of visiting less often but withdrawing more cash each time they visit, typically £10-£15 more.”

“Anecdotally, locations such as markets or even pubs that pre-pandemic only accepted cash, now all have card readers and continue to actively encourage contactless payments. Therefore, some consumers who are confident using digital or contactless payments, now use cash less often than they did pre-pandemic and seem unlikely to ever revert back. However, we know that there are still more than five million people who rely on cash and digital payments are not an option. It’s therefore good news that while ATM and cash use may have fallen, LINK is committed to protecting access and the Government says it will be bringing forward legislation to support access to cash.”



Withdrawal per adult (2019)

Withdrawal per adult (2020)

Withdrawal per adult (2021)

Northern Ireland












North- West




Yorkshire & The Humber




















East of England

















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