Despite reports that the tipping point has been reached, with the UK’s preferred payment methods now being digital, LINK cash machines were used on average 93 times per second throughout September 2018. That works out at over 8 million transactions every day and 240 million users throughout the month.
Cash machines remain a valuable business in 2018, with the value of LINK transactions being £10.3 billion in September 2018 (an average of £43 per transaction.) This amount compares with £10.9 billion two years ago in September 2016, representing a much smaller fall than may have otherwise been expected. In September 2018, LINK cash transactions were worth £343.2 million per day.
While striking numbers in themselves, it should also be noted that the LINK numbers do not include transactions or withdrawals made by customers at their own banks or building societies. With LINK cash withdrawals representing around 77% of the total cash withdrawals in the UK, the total number of cash machine uses will actually be considerably higher.
Payment technologies continue to develop at a rate, but in a context where an average credit card interest rate in August 2018 is 18.38%, significantly above the Bank of England Base Rate (and a gap which has widened substantially in recent years), the overall picture painted is that people simply are not yet ready to dispense with cash.
Michelle Highman, Chief Executive of The Money Charity said “These numbers show the persisting popularity for cash, despite the considerable rise of card, mobile and online payments. There are many reasons why people still prefer cash. Some find it easier to budget this way, others like the anonymity it offers, while many see the physical security of cash as a backup to electronic systems which can fail or where these methods are not available.”
“For all these reasons, we believe demand for cash will continue at a high level for some time yet. At a time when many discussions and consultations are taking place to consider the future of cash, we will continue to engage vocally in these forums, highlighting that it is the responsibility of the industry and regulators to ensure that cash coverage continues, and that we do not see the emergence of ‘cash deserts’ in certain rural areas, small towns and suburbs.”