Published on 28 April 2020
  • Cash withdrawals down 60% during lockdown according to LINK data.
  • But 23% using the same or more cash since the start of the crisis.
  • LINK data suggests that there are still 11 million LINK cash withdrawals a week worth £1 billion
  • Over the next six months, consumers will use contactless and digital payments more due to avoiding cash payments (44%).

New online research published today by LINK, the UK’s main cash machine network, shows more consumers are turning to contactless and digital payments during the Coronavirus crisis, with almost three quarters (72%) suggesting the Coronavirus will affect their future use of cash.

Over the past month, data from LINK show ATM transaction volumes, on average, have dropped around 60% compared to the same period last year. However, while use is down, consumers are increasing the average value withdrawn, up from around £65 per withdrawal to £82. Around £1billion is still being withdrawn from LINK ATMs every single week through some 11 million cash withdrawals. ATM operators are working around the clock to make sure cash machines are working and restocked with cash.

LINK has been undertaking weekly consumer research with YouGov since early March to understand how shopping habits and use of cash has changed. As much of the retail and leisure economy remains closed, the data shows the following: 

  • 14% consumers say they are keeping more cash at home in case of emergencies
  • Three quarters (75%) of consumers said they are using less cash, with over half (58%) using cash a lot less. However, 23% of consumers said they are using the same amount or more cash.
  • More than half of people (54%) say they are now avoiding using cash and using alternative payment methods.
  • 76% of people say they think the Coronavirus crisis will affect their future use of cash over the next six months:
  • Around half (51%) say they will use cards more
  • 44% said they will use contactless/mobile payments more
  • 34% said they will do more shopping online
  • 31% said they will use ATMs less frequently
  • 10% said they had wanted to pay in cash but that it hadn’t been accepted.

LINK’s Chief Executive, John Howells said: “The fact people are using less cash shouldn’t come as a surprise because with cafes, pubs, restaurants and some shops closed, people are travelling less and there are far fewer opportunities to spend in the first place. However, LINK ATMs are still issuing around £1 billion per week to 11 million people. Even if this crisis does lead to less cash use in the longer term, people should be reassured that LINK and its members will continue to ensure good access to all who still rely on it.”

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