News and resources on payments systems, innovations and initiatives worldwide.
Cash usage in Britain drops by half

Cash usage in Britain drops by half

Cash usage in Britain has halved in just a few days following the Government's imposition of a nationwide lock-down on freedom of movement.

The dramatic decline in the use of cash comes as shops across the UK shut down and people move to contactless payments to avoid Covid-19 contamination from banknotes.

The figures, supplied by UK ATM network Link, may harbour a fundamental change is users' cash habits as the country's banks commit to raising the PIN-free contactless limit from £30 to £45.

Link says that a fundamental review and potential restructuring of the country’s ATM network and its business model may be necessary.

Link itself has moved into remote working business continuity mode and is working with member banks, regulators, industry bodies and other stakeholders to ensure consumers can still access their cash during the ongoing crisis.

John Howells, Link CEO comments: “These are difficult and challenging times, but I would like to reassure everyone that Link remains as committed as ever to ensuring people can continue to access their cash. I and the whole Link board would also like to thank our Members and the many, many people who are working hard behind the scenes to keep the ATM network going”.

Comments: (2)

Duane Tough
Duane Tough - PBATM - ny 25 March, 2020, 15:54Be the first to give this comment the thumbs up 0 likes

Indeed, very challenging times. that beign said, how about expanding the uses of those hardware and software connections to go beyond just cash....bill pay, cardless, remittance, health services, voting, etc etc.  put resources into the fleet that grows into the digital age, stop trying to fight the digital age !!!! Upgrade and new machines, better services...you know all this and for the last few years minimal activity....

A Finextra member
A Finextra member 26 March, 2020, 18:00Be the first to give this comment the thumbs up 0 likes

It is time LINK started to work proactively for the UK consumer. We hear that they are doing everything to maintain access to cash whilst, in truth, it is their interchange cuts that have undermined the sustainability of the ATM network. There are countless studies showing that consumers still want easy access to cash. This can only be provided through a strong ATM network. We also see many populist stories in the media and online that cash is not safe to use in the current crisis, however the Bank of England and the Bundesbank have both said publicly that handling cash is unlikely to spread the virus.

We also know how much independent and small retailers rely on cash to sustain their businesses, and moving away from cash will badly impact them in the months to come. It is clear that a re-structure of the ATM network is indeed needed but LINK needs to provide more support to the Independent ATM operators who continue make up the majority of the UK ATM network. How? By withdrawing the most recent 5% interchange cut and then working across the ATM industry to implement a sustainable, zonal interchange model that will enable companies like mine, who are committed to the provision of access to cash in support of consumer demand, to do so both now and into the future.