Cash usage increased for the first time in 13 years in 2022, according to fresh data from Nationwide, as Brits responded to the cost-of-living crisis by budgeting with physical money.
“For the first time in years we are seeing a natural rise in cash withdrawals as people return to using cash to help avoid getting into debt from the rising cost of living,” Otto Benz, Director of Payments at Nationwide Building Society, said.
Over 30.2 million cash withdrawals were made from Nationwide ATMs last year – a 19 per cent increase on 2021.
London locations had some of the busiest cash machines in the UK. The top five locations for cash withdrawals were: Southall, East Ham, Upton Park, Ilfracombe, Gillingham.
Over recent years the number of cash withdrawals has been steadily declining. It fell most sharply at the start of the pandemic when the number of withdrawals at Nationwide ATMs dropped more than 40 per cent in a year.
The average amount of cash withdrawn from Nationwide ATMs was £105 last year, down two per cent on the previous year but still up 25 per cent on 2019, the bank said.
“Far from the end for cash, it shows that the future of money management is constantly evolving,” Benz said.
In June last year, Nationwide committed to keeping all of its 625 branches open until 2024 as a result of the cost-of-living crisis.
This bucks the trend amongst UK banks. HSBC will shut 114 branches in 2023, on top of the 69 it closed in 2022, while Natwest, Lloyds and Barclays are set to close 43, 14 and 11 branches respectively this year. Both Halifax and Santander will close five by the end of 2023.