• A new study has revealed the UK regions and constituencies with the biggest cash machine decline since 2018.
  • Since July 2018, the UK has lost 21 per cent of ATMs, with a staggering 13,679 being closed down.
  • As the tech capital, London is the region with the highest decline, with 25 per cent of traditional ATMs no longer in service.
  • Cardiff has the highest number of closures in Wales, with a loss of 56 in the last 4 years.

A new study by Intergiro has revealed which areas of the UK have seen the biggest cash machine decline since 2018, as the country steers towards a future of digital banking.

Using data from Parliament Commons Library, the experts found that London is the region with the biggest decline, with 2,428 ATMs closing down since July 2018.

However, the South East currently has 6.7 ATMs per 10,000 residents, which is the lowest ratio overall.

The North West, including Liverpool and Greater Manchester, is also taking steps towards digital first banking, as the data shows 1,514 cash machines have closed down in the last four years, equating to 20 per cent overall.

Taking Northern Ireland into consideration, the data reveals that traditional ATMs aren’t declining as rapidly here, with a decline of 13 per cent equating to 269 in total. There are 9.6 ATMs per 10,000 people which is the highest ratio when considering this factor.

The West Midlands sees Birmingham, Ladywood most adaptive to digital first, while the same applies to Bristol West in the South West.

Earlier this year a Gazette reader has questioned the country’s move towards a cashless society after they were unable to pay by card when a shop’s card machine stopped working.

Gazette reader Jules Palliser shared their story of when they tried to buy petrol from a local station, only to find a hand-written notice which read: “Sorry cash only. Credit card machine not working”. Jules shared it as a cautionary tale against a cashless and digital-only currency.

Gazette readers agree with the scepticism of a cashless way of life. A question put to followers of @RossGazette on social media site Twitter: “Do you feel it’s important that business still carry cash, or do you embrace a cashless society?” Three-quarters of participants said that “Yes, cash is important”, with the remaining people saying that they’re happy to embrace cashlessness.

Jules added: “This is just one very good reason why we must keep cash alive and well, as it is more apparent that anything may, and will, stop working without it. Consequently, this may be a very threatening way of life as no technology is infallible.”

The sentiment was shared by a number of readers on other social media platforms.

Paul Stephens said: “Quite right, keep cash alive. Just think, once everyone is cashless the charges to use your cards would soon be brought in. Our government would love it knowing exactly where your money is going.”

John Gibbons added: “We are one cyber attack from oblivion. At least cash will still enable commerce to function in a non digital world.”

Statistics published by the Institute of Chartered Accountants in England and Wales tell us that, more than a quarter of adults in the UK now have an account with a digital-only bank. According to Barclays 88.6 per cent of payments made in 2020 were contactless.

Whilst the trend as been accelerated as a result of Covid-19 public health measures, the move to a cashless society has been criticised by a number of rights groups. Homeless charities have said that the marginalisation of cash has the potential to exclude those unable to get bank accounts due to not having a fixed address, as well as being affected by fewer people carrying change; human rights organisations have indicated privacy concerns with every transaction of a person’s life, as well as when and where they were at the time, kept on record.