RBR reveals partial bounceback of cash withdrawals 

According to RBR’s Global ATM Market and Forecasts to 2027, cash withdrawals have seen a marginal recovery as pandemic restrictions have eased. 

Although the shift to cashless remains prevalent, financial inclusion has also played a role in recovering the rebounding of cash payments. 

Rowan Berridge, who led RBR’s Global ATM Market and Forecasts to 2027 research, remarked: “In some sense, 2021 was a good year in terms of ATM withdrawals, as numbers returned to growth and value picked up even more. 

“It is telling, however, how far below 2019 the figures still are. The outlook for cash withdrawals is positive, although the strength of cashless payments will apply the brakes to a full recovery.”

The group also revealed customers around the world made 69 billion cash withdrawals in 2021, a small increase on 2020 – a year with particularly low demand for cash as COVID-19 lockdowns kept people at home. 

Although muted, the bounceback was made possible by a return to some normality in most countries worldwide as shops and restaurants resumed business. 

Growth in the value of cash withdrawals globally was more buoyant, with a 2% increase to total over USD 14.5 trillion. Despite visiting ATMs less frequently during both years of the pandemic, customers partially made up for this by taking out on-average higher sums at each transaction.

Despite the heightened demand for cash, RBR’s study found that both the total number and value of global cash withdrawals in 2021 remained lower than in 2019. COVID-19 fuelled digital payment uptake, accelerating the previously gradual decline in withdrawals.

RBR also forecasted that the number of cash withdrawals made worldwide will increase every year between 2022 and 2027 but will not return to pre-pandemic levels. Growth will be the fastest in Asia-Pacific, MEA and Latin America, primarily thanks to countries where self-service channels are being extended to new customers, most notably India, Iran and Mexico.