The value of cash withdrawn from ATMs in 11 major Asia-Pacific markets has grown 50 percent since 2011, according to “ATM Hardware, Software and Services 2016,” a report from ATM research and consulting firm RBR.
In 2015 alone, the value of cash withdrawals grew more than 15 percent in the Philippines, Vietnam, Indonesia and India, the company found. Many of the region’s economies are cash intensive, and financial inclusion programs are bringing large numbers of people into the banking system, adding to demand.
RBR also studied 20 European markets, where the value of ATM withdrawals has grown by 8 percent since 2011. Europe has seen greater uptake of cashless payments than Asia, so the increase in the value of cash withdrawals has been more modest.
While 2015 saw strong growth in the value of withdrawals in countries such as Russia and Turkey (partly due to inflation), and Spain (due to economic uncertainty), the value of cash withdrawals actually fell in many parts of Europe.
The number of customer visits to ATMs — measured by the number of cash withdrawals — is also rising sharply in much of Asia-Pacific.
The fastest growth rates are in the Indian sub-continent (India, Pakistan and Bangladesh), where ATM numbers remain low when compared to the population, and Indonesia, where density is higher, but where a higher percentage of the population can access ATMs.
RBR found that, in 2015, Indian ATMs averaged 5,000 withdrawals per month — more than in any other Asia-Pacific country surveyed. Other markets with high transaction volumes are the Philippines and Malaysia, where ATMs are used more than 4,500 times a month on average.
In Europe, smaller markets such as Finland, Sweden, Ireland and Greece produce the highest average numbers of withdrawals per ATM. These countries tend to have lower ATM density than countries such as Germany and the U.K., so individual machines get more use.
In most European countries, the average number of ATM withdrawals has been flat or falling over the last five years. Three major exceptions are Greece, Ukraine, and Italy, where the average has risen strongly.
Two main factors have driven this change — falling ATM numbers (in Greece and Ukraine) and economic instability (in all three countries), which has caused people to withdraw more cash than usual.
“Consumer behaviour varies widely across Europe and Asia, but the demand for cash remains strong, and can be driven upwards by economic uncertainty,” said Robert Chaundy, who led the RBR study. The runaway growth seen in many Asian markets is set to continue for the foreseeable future, and the key challenge for banks there is getting enough ATMs installed to deliver cash to their customers.”