Where did all the ATMs go?

2019-08-01

A version of this article appeared in the August edition of the Private Hire and Taxi Magazine (PHTM)

Cash machines (also known as ATMs), once a fixture on every high street in Britain, are rapidly becoming a thing of the past, as consumers use cash less while ATM operators’ income is dwindling.

Link, the UK’s largest cash machine network, published data in July showing that cash withdrawal rates are falling alarmingly throughout the UK: down 8.7% in London during the first four months of 2019 compared to the same period last year, 7.9% in the rest of the south-east and 7.7% in south-west England. Slightly lower rates of decline were seen in the rest of England, Scotland and Northern Ireland.

Consumers are increasingly turning away from cash, preferring card payments instead. The convenience of contactless payment is a major driver of this. Cash accounted for just 28% of transactions in Britain during 2018, roughly half the rate of a decade ago, according to figures from UK Finance, who estimate that paper money will be used for only 10% of purchases by 2028. This rate of decline puts the UK among the most cashless countries in the world, according to the Financial Times.

In this context, it’s not surprising that ATMs are disappearing from our high streets, with 1,200 ATMs shut down in the first six months of 2019. Last year, Link began to cut the interchange fees paid by to ATM operators by card issuers for allowing customers to withdraw money, making it less profitable for operators to keep ATMs available to customers.

The message for taxi fleets and drivers is clear: with passengers using less and less cash, if you don’t accept card payments in your vehicles, your customers will go elsewhere to find a convenient and secure way to pay. CabCard is a specialist payment processor with a decade of experience in the taxi sector. We can help you to start taking cards today with no upfront cost and payments directly to your drivers’ bank accounts.