By Daniel Hunter

A new report shows cash use increased in the UK last year, with consumers and businesses making 20.8 billion cash payments in 2012, compared with 20.6 billion in 2011. This breaks the longer term trend of falling cash volumes year-on-year seen over most of the last decade.

More people are turning to cash exclusively, possibly to help them monitor the amount they are spending on a day-to-day basis. In 2012 7.2 million adults made all of their day-to-day purchases by cash, an increase of around 700,000 compared with 2011.

The cash machine remains the most popular way for people to access their cash. This, coupled with an industry initiative to increase the number of ATMs in deprived areas, has seen the number of cash machines in the UK rise to an all-time high of 66,134. Out of those 46,069 are free-to-use, and 97.2% of withdrawals were from free-to-use machines. On average we withdrew £66 per transaction using debit cards.

UK Cash & Cash Machines 2013 is published by the Payments Council in conjunction with LINK and The UK Cards Association. It includes statistics on how, where and how frequently we get our cash, as well as forecasts for how cash use will change over the next ten years.

David Hensley, Head of Cash at the Payments Council commented: “Cash is still a vital part of our day-to-day lives, and more than half of all our payments are in cash, reflecting its easy use and its wide acceptance.

“Information relating to the amount we spend and the way we get hold of our cash is available in UK Cash & Cash Machines, which provides a unique insight into cash use in the UK.”

John Howells, CEO of the LINK ATM Network commented: “The UK is one of the few European countries whose cash machine network is still growing. We are currently seeing an increase in cash withdrawals, but the challenge is to make sure the UK’s cash machine network still provides a service that customers want in 10 and 20 years’ time.”

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