50th anniversary of the ATM highlights the decline of cash

June 27th marks the 50th anniversary of the world’s first automated cash dispenser – later known as an Automated Teller Machine (ATM).

50th anniversary of the ATM highlights the decline of cash

But this could be the last major milestone ATMs see as the UK swiftly moves towards a new cultural phenomenon – the cashless society. In fact, our latest research shows, that if given the option, 26% of us would never choose to pay cash when buying an item in a shop and more than a quarter of us (26.35%) find it irritating when we have to pay by cash rather than by card.

These findings are mirrored by the fact that 38 million transactions were made in 2016 using mobile payments, accounting for £288m spent using mobile phones, an astonishing 247% increase on the year before. Pubs, bars and restaurants made up for 20% of all mobile payments processed and ‘Meal Deal’ hotspots for workers buying lunch – such as supermarkets and grocery stores – accounted for 54%, further emphasising the decreasing demand for physical cash.

Physical money is fast becoming redundant in today’s increasingly connected society with a third (33%) of the UK stating that they never use cash anymore. The popularity of mobile and contactless payments demonstrates the changing payment landscape in the UK, lessening our dependency on cash.

It’s unlikely the ATM reaching its 60th anniversary, and with 44% of us stating that we rarely use them to remove cash from our accounts anymore, it will not be long until ATMs are consigned to the history books. The ATM was groundbreaking in its initial purpose to reduce the need for people to go into a bank branch to withdraw money, but the rapid adoption of digital payments means the core function of an ATM – distributing cash – is fast becoming redundant. In the digital age, cashless payment methods are king.