Thursday, January 11, 2024
New data from Nationwide shows that cash usage continues to rise as many households respond to the cost-of-living crisis by budgeting with physical money.
Unlike the major banks which have closed significant numbers of branches in recent years, Nationwide’s Branch Promise means everywhere it has an outlet, it will remain until at least 2026.
The latest annual data from the UK building society reveals around 31.4 million cash withdrawals were made from its network of more than 1,200 ATMs last year - a four per cent increase on 2022.
The figures chime with research from the British Retail Consortium, which in December reported that cash usage in the UK has grown for the first time in a decade as consumers shy away from overspending on plastic payment cards during the ongoing cost of living crisis.
The average amount of cash taken out on each withdrawal from Nationwide ATMs was around £105 last year, an increase on the previous year (+1%) that is below the current level of inflation. However, it is still up 28 per cent on 2019 (pre-pandemic).
It marks the second consecutive annual rise as 2022 saw the first rise in cash withdrawals for 13 years. Prior to 2022 the number of cash withdrawals had been steadily declining, most sharply at the start of the pandemic when the number of withdrawals at Nationwide ATMs dropped more than 40 per cent in a year (26.4m in 2020 v 44.5m in 2019).
Otto Benz, director of payments at Nationwide Building Society, comments: “ATMs play a vital role in society, enabling people to easily access and manage their money flow. We now have the largest branch network in the UK, which allows us to support customers who want access to cash, whether from our ATMs or over the counter. Unfortunately, the large banks have closed, and in some cases are still closing large numbers of branches, meaning far fewer free-to-use ATMs are available."
In many places Nationwide is now the last branch in town, which has reduced the number of options for local people looking for a free-to-use ATM. During the last year, usage at Nationwide ATMs in towns where the Society has now become the last branch in town has increased by an average of 55 per cent.
The majority (90%) of the increase in withdrawals in last branch in town areas over the last two years has been from non-Nationwide customers.