The closure of ATMs will accelerate a cashless Britain

LINK, the ATM trade body, has warned that thousands of free-to-use cash machines could be axed.

The closure of ATMs will accelerate a cashless Britain

Britain is well on course to become a cashless society. It was the 50th anniversary of the world’s first Automated Teller Machine (ATM) this year, but we predict this will be the last major milestone ATMs see in the UK. 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.

Today’s announcement indicates that it is unlikely that the ATM will reach 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.