Cashless society: Over 340 ATMs close on the UK high street every month in the face of coronavirus

A new report by UK merchant payment provider, Dojo, part of the Payment sense brand, has revealed the extent to which Britain’s high streets are losing their ATM’s and which UK cities are the most affected.

The report found that between January 2019 and September 2020 the number of cash machines in Britain dropped from 62,967 to 55,674, a decrease of 7,293, with an average of over 340 machines disappearing from high streets every month, we are slowly turning into a cashless society.

We can now reveal the cities and towns with the biggest ATM declines in response to the pandemic.

York tops the list losing a third of its ATMs in just one year during COVID-19

City/Town ATM Jan 2019 ATM Sep 2020 ATM decline (No.) ATM rate of decline (%)
York 63 45 -18 -28.57%
Edinburgh 104 79 -25 -24.04%
London 830 638 -192 -23.13%
Belfast 90 72 -18 -20.00%
Brighton 78 63 -15 -19.23%
Glasgow 336 272 -64 -19.05%
Leeds 63 51 -12 -19.05%
Cardiff 197 162 -35 -17.77%
Nottingham 201 166 -35 -17.41%
Bath 104 87 -17 -16.35%
Cambridge 124 104 -20 -16.13%
Newcastle 81 68 -13 -16.05%
Birmingham 131 110 -21 -16.03%
Leicester 198 167 -31 -15.66%
Bristol 244 207 -37 -15.16%
Hull 83 71 -12 -14.46%
Sheffield 216 186 -30 -13.89%
Lincoln 136 120 -16 -11.76%
Huddersfield 147 130 -17 -11.56%
Rotherham 100 89 -11 -11.00%

The city of York has seen its number of ATMs drop from 63 in January of 2019 to just 45 in September 2020. This is a decline of 18 or almost 29%. The Scottish capital, Edinburgh, ranked second with a 24% fall in the number of ATMs. While London ranks third, the largest city in the country lost a phenomenal 192 machines between January ‘19 and September ‘20 a 23% decline

Sheffield is the city with the fewest ATMs per percentage of the population

Despite a population of over 730,000, making it the fourth-largest city in the country, Sheffield is the place in the UK with the least amount of cash machines per capita with one cash machine for every 3925 residents.

Free to use ATM machines declining at a faster rate than those that charge

Although the elderly and those on low incomes are the most reliant on ATM technology, the number of free to use machines is dropping at a faster rate than those which charge a usage fee. These particular cash machines which are less financially viable are often the ones to first disappear ahead of those that charge a fee to use meaning more members of the public are left with less choice of where to go to take out their money.

Jon Knott, Head of customer insight at Dojo said:

“During the course of the coronavirus pandemic, the makeup of the great British highstreet has changed enormously. 

ATM Cashless society.While it’s long been evolving in the face of the rising of the digital marketplace, coronavirus has reaffirmed the dominance of financial technologies.

As we’ve seen already in the press, the contactless limit could increase once again from £45 to £100, allowing people more convenience to tap for their in-store purchases. With more and more people opting for Apple and Google Pay which has no capped limit for contactless payments, consumers are welcoming the efficiency and speed at which they can purchase larger value products and services.

It is no surprise then, in our digitised economy, that the use of cash is decreasing, making ATMs redundant.“