Cash use and the ATM – Going from strength to strength

By : Colin Gordon

November 26, 2015 01:20 PM

Much is spoken in the financial technology media about the “death of cash” and how it will soon no longer be relevant as a payment method. We also continually read pure unfounded speculation that the ATM, be it a cash dispenser or intelligent deposit ATM, will see less usage in the future as consumers move towards more digital payments such as Apple Pay, Card transactions or Contactless. This isn’t actually the case and credible research backs this up.

The global ATM install base is increasing
 Consumer demands are changing along with their preferences, expectations and demographics. Still though the ATM install base continues to grow. As at the end of 2014, the global ATM install base was reported as 3 million (Retail Banking Research Global ATM Market Forecasts to 2020). This is forecasted to grow even further in the next 5 years to 4 million by 2020. Whilst some markets such as the United States and United Kingdom are seen as mature ‘replacement only’ markets, there is still huge growth in the likes of Asia Pacific. The Chinese ATM market grew by nearly 100,000 ATMs last year to over 600,000 and is a great example of a growing dominant world economy where consumers still rely significantly upon cash. From an NCR perspective it’s good news too. There are over 813,000 NCR ATMs installed globally. NCR remains the #1 provider of ATMs globally and this has been the case for 29 consecutive years.


Cash withdrawals are increasing in value and volume Research from the same Retail Banking Research report indicates that the amount of cash withdrawn from ATMs is increasing significantly. It’s not only the value of cash that’s growing – something that could be put down to inflation – but also the volume of transactions, in terms of how often the consumer visits the ATM.


There were 92 billion cash withdrawals made at ATMs worldwide in 2014, according to the report, up a whopping five percent from 87 billion in 2013 and 12 percent from 81 billion in 2012.


To give this some context, this means there are 174,000 cash withdrawals at an ATM globally every minute, or 2,906 cash withdrawals done around the world every second.


Interestingly, the value of cash withdrawals increased also. Over $14 trillion USD was withdrawn from ATMs in 2014 - up four per cent from the prior year. This equates to $27 million being withdrawn from ATMs around the globe every minute, or $446,000 every second.


Often, articles bemoaning the death of cash interestingly don’t ever make reference to the sheer scale of cash withdrawals.


Moreover, with the additional services now available on ATMs such as mobile cash, that run alongside cash withdrawals, the ATM will remain at the heart of consumer banking for many years to come.

Colin Gordon

Financial Services SelfServ, Marketing Manager

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Colin Gordon is a Global ATM Marketing Manager based at NCR’s R&D Center in Dundee, Scotland. Colin is responsible for the marketing of NCR’s financial hardware portfolio with a specific focus on activities such as demand generation, sales enablement, market analysis and customer engagements for the ATM business.