London, 26 August – Holidaymakers and Brits on staycations are expected to make a record number of cash withdrawals at UK ATMs this August as the holiday season reaches its summer peak. Based on annual trends to date, the ATM Industry Association (ATMIA) predicts that August will be the busiest month in history for overseas visitors withdrawing cash from UK ATMs, while Brits on staycations are expected to withdraw more cash than ever before during the August Bank Holiday weekend.
Despite the current apparent ‘craze’ for contactless cards, Brits are splashing the cash far more than with any other payment method – and especially so on their special days out. After receiving their August salaries on Friday, 25 August, the ATMIA predicts that Brits on staycations will break last year’s record for cash withdrawals during this long weekend. In 2016, the UK cash machine network LINK announced that a record sum of more than £280m of cash was withdrawn at the UK’s 70,000 cash machines on Bank Holiday Monday alone (up by 4% on the previous year). Demand for cash is predicted to be even higher this year, as four in five Britons are opting for a staycation, according to accommodation website Airbnb.
While a wave of staycationers are taking to Britain’s cities, countryside and sea-side towns, a flood of cash-loving overseas visitors will make August a record month for cash withdrawals by foreign tourists as well: last month, the Office for National Statistics (ONS) forecast that 2017 will be a record year for foreign visits and tourism spend in the UK, with the total number of visits predicted to reach 39.7m (up 6% compared to 2016) and over 4 Million expected in August alone. At the same time, spending by overseas visitors will increase by 14% to reach £25.7bn, fuelling local economies in rural areas as well as the top tourism hotspots London and Edinburgh, which received 19.1m and 1.7m visitors in 2016 respectively. In 2016, 4m French travellers topped the list of holiday makers visiting the UK, followed by 3.5m visitors from the US and 3.3m Germans.
Comparatively, US citizens also led the charge when it comes to holiday spending in the UK with a total of £3.4bn spent during their trips, while Germans and the French brought £1.5bn and £1.4bn respectively across the Channel from mainland Europe. The c. £600 that is spent by each tourist in the UK per visit goes primarily to local businesses in the leisure industry as well as high street retailers, who have seen rising numbers of touristshoppers due to the cheaper British Pound since the Brexit referendum in June 2016.
The expected foreign spending spree will be fuelled by UK ATMs as cash payments continue to remain attractive to foreign visitors, bolstered by the fact that the UK boasts one of the most convenient ATM networks in the world since it grew to reach a record number of over 70,000 machines in 2014. Many visitors also have a natural preference for cash. Germans, who spent over £1.5bn during their trips to the UK last year, are among the ‘kings of cash payments’ in the world, choosing cash over card for over 80% of the purchases they make (Source: Bundesbank, 2016).
Ron Delnevo, Executive Director Europe at the ATMIA commented:
“So far, although we certainly haven’t seen a heatwave in August, the forecast is that cash use will soar in Britain: the record numbers of cash-loving foreign tourists, adding to by British staycationers, will mean that our ATMs will be fuelling the local leisure industry and retailers as never before, by making the visits of our guests as convenient as possible as far as getting their cash is concerned. The UK continues to welcome all these visitors with open arms, recognising just how important they and their cash are to the vitality of the UK economy”.
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About the ATM Industry Association (ATMIA):
ATMIA is the leading non-profit trade association representing the entire global ATM industry. ATMIA serves more than 10,000 members from over 650+ companies in over 70 countries spanning the whole ATM ecosphere, including financial institutions, independent ATM deployers, equipment manufacturers, processors and a plethora of ATM service and value-added solution providers.
ATMIA has active chapters in the United States, Canada, Europe, Latin America, Asia-Pacific, Asia, Africa, India and the Middle East focusing on the unique needs and issues of each region.