NEW data from Nationwide shows that cash usage continues to rise as many households respond to the cost-of-living crisis by budgeting with physical money.

The data also shows that in Redruth, where the building society is the last remaining branch in town, usage has risen even higher.

More than 71,000 withdrawals were made from the ATMs at Nationwide’s Redruth branch, with the average amount withdrawn each time being around £85.

Due to being the last branch in town, usage at the branch increased by an average of 144 per cent since May 16, 2023.

The number of transactions from non-Nationwide customers who are looking for alternative options to make fee-free cash withdrawals is up 247 per cent on the previous year.

The rise in multi-use ATMs mean that cash withdrawals are only part of the picture.

More than 35,000 (33%) of all transactions from the Nationwide Redruth branch have been for other services – from printing mini-statements and paying bills, to changing PINs and paying in cash and cheques.

Data from the building society reveals that nationally around 31.4 million cash withdrawals were made from its network of more than 1,200 ATMs last year – a four per cent increase on 2022.

It marks the second consecutive overall annual rise as 2022 saw the first increase in cash withdrawals for 13 years. Before 2022, the number of cash withdrawals had been steadily declining, most sharply at the start of the pandemic when the number of withdrawals at Nationwide ATMs dropped more than 40 per cent in a year (26.4m in 2020 v 44.5m in 2019).

Otto Benz, Director of Payments at Nationwide Building Society, said: “ATMs play a vital role in society, enabling people to easily access and manage their money flow. We now have the largest branch network in the UK, which allows us to support customers who want access to cash, whether from our ATMs or over the counter.

"Unfortunately, the large banks have closed a large number of branches in recent years, and in some cases are still doing so, meaning far fewer free-to-use ATMs are available.

“ATMs do more than just dispense cash - nearly half of transactions are from people paying money in, checking their balance or paying a household bill. This goes to show this is far from the end for cash and so we will continue to offer our customers the ability to access their money on their terms, whether digitally or in our branches.”

Banks are continuing to close branches around Cornwall, and with them cash points. 

In Helston, where there are now no high street banks at all, the town is looking to set up a Community Banking Hub and one of the newsagents in the town, JJ News, has opened up an indoor cashpoint to help cater for the need. 

It follows the closure of the Helston branch of Lloyds in January last year, which was the town's last remaining bank.