Bank Holiday Weekend sets record for ATM cash withdrawals

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Americans believe cash will die out in their lifetime and Brits may be accessing mobile banking apps four billion times a year, but that doesn’t mean cash, in the here and now, is gone. Far from it actually as this August Bank Holiday Weekend saw a record amount of cash withdrawn from ATMs, according to LINK, the UK’s cash machine network.

August Bank Holiday Monday was the busiest in history with over £280 million withdrawn that day. That marked a 4% increase on last year’s August bank holiday Monday figure, when £269 million was taken out of the UK’s 70,000 cash machines. There was a similar increase in the number of withdrawals, up 9% on last year, from 4.5 million to 4.9 million.

John Howells, Chief Executive of LINK, commented:

“The feel-good factors of sunny weather on a bank holiday provided all the right ingredients for an all-time high in August bank holiday Monday ATM withdrawals.

“Our demand for cash remains as strong as ever, showing that – despite much speculation to the contrary – notes and coins are very much here to stay.”

However, the perennial question about the future of cash looms. How long can it withstand the innovations and advancements of rivals?

Take contactless payments for example. In the last 12 months i.e. in the year since the contactless spend limit was increased from £20 to £30, spending using the technology has increased by 173% by value and 112% by volume. Barclaycard customers actually spent nearly triple (2.7 times) via contactless this year.

In Europe, whilst overwhelming majorities in Germany and France still use cash for everyday payments, many of them expect mobile wallets and payment services like Apple Pay to be dominant by 2021. In fact, payments for digital and physical products made on system-based payments platforms like Apple Pay and Android Pay are expected to boom in the next few years according to new analysis.

If people that make payments expect to make payments using mobiles and contactless in the future, when will that future catch up with cash?

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