The recent Populus report carried out in partnership with Cardtronics revealed the importance of cash, and need for ATMs to be accessible during the transition to digital financial services. In fact, 2 out of 5 people surveyed said they don’t feel ready to move to online banking. However, 83% of British consumers expressed how important free local cash machines are for them, particularly in regions affected by bank branch closures.
According to the report, UK consumers perceive ATM services as a public utility independent from any bank relationships and 62% of adults visited a cash machine at least once before taking the survey, with 31% of them using a free independent ATM. Almost half expressed their willingness to change their preferred shopping spot it failed to provide access to a free cash withdrawal service.
The study was conducted as part of “Britain taking note: The value of cash in UK wallets” report, aimed to offer an in-depth look into consumer attitudes towards payments and financial services. For Brits, cash remains dominant in the payments mix. Indeed, 83% of adults have an average of £25 in their wallets compared to 68% regularly carrying contactless debit cards and a minor 11% commonly using mobile phones to pay.
In regards to low value payments, the preference is in favor of cash: 83% against 43% favoring contactless payments. UK consumers also make cash the winning way to transact in terms of ease of use (78%), speed (70%) and convenience (72%). The tendency is similar across age groups, with 74% of 18-24 year-olds finding cash ideal for small purchases.
Tim Halford, Managing Director of Cardtronics UK and Ireland, is convinced of the importance to maintain accessibility to cash and offer a stable ATM presence to consumers. He predicts the independence of ATMs from banks in the future. “As banking moves online, ATMs and self-service innovation are key in ensuring that a basic financial infrastructure remains in local communities. And it’s not just about meeting continued consumer demand – it ultimately helps banks make the digital shift by offering their customers a strategic bridge between the physical and the digital worlds of banking.”