“Cash is here to stay”. That’s the message from the company behind the UK’s cashpoints, as it revealed a record number of withdrawals over the May Day bank holiday.
LINK, the UK’s cash machine network, said a total of £1.7bn was withdrawn over the May Day bank holiday weekend – more than £100m more than last year.
From Friday 29 April to Monday 2 May, LINK cash withdrawals totalled £1.716bn – up £113m, or 7%, on £1.603bn that was withdrawn in the same period last year.
According to LINK, the Friday was by far the most popular time for a trip to the cashpoint, with £620m withdrawn on that day alone, up £27m on 2015.
The figures make it the busiest-ever May Day bank holiday weekend for the UK’s 70,270 ATMs.
LINK chief executive John Howells said: “A mixture of some long overdue good weather, a packed sporting calendar and the extra day off work that many of us enjoy meant that last weekend marked an all-time peak in bank holiday ATM withdrawals.
“Despite the many different ways to pay that we have in this country, this record for ATM withdrawals clearly shows that cash has a bright future in the UK.
“Indeed, with the rollout of new plastic banknotes and the 12-sided one pound coin on the horizon, we can confidently predict cash is here to stay.”
The figures fly in the face of the constant growth of the number of card and contactless transactions.
Earlier this week, the UK Cards Association said there were a staggering 159m contactless transactions made in February – equivalent to around 63 a second.
Overall, there were 1.182bn transactions using cards in February, with £52.4bn spent, compared to £50.9bn in February 2015.
According to the data, the average contactless transaction has grown to £8.28, reflecting the impact of the contactless limit to £30.
Richard Koch, head of policy at the UK Cards Association, said: “With more than 60 transactions taking place a second, it is clear contactless card payments are becoming ever more popular.
“Whether picking up a pint of milk or buying a sandwich, customers are consistently voting with their wallets and using their cards as the predominant way of paying.”
The figures came after a report by The Co-op predicted that contactless payments on mobile phones will have outstripped cash within a decade.