ATMs caught short as consumers rush back to cash

Consumers have rushed back to cash as soon as social distancing restrictions eased in New Zealand and venues began opening again. One month’s worth of withdrawals occurred in just three days last week, reported New Zealand’s leading independent ATM network, Next Payments.

More than 30,000 withdrawal transactions were made in the three days after venues were (partially) reopened in New Zealand. In excess of 60,000 withdrawals have been made already in May, more than double to the total for April 2020.

The rush for cash caught some venues and operators by surprise. 23 per cent of Next Payments ATMs ran out of cash in New Zealand in the last week.

143 machines ran out of cash bank notes, out of the 624 Next Payments cash machines in NZ. All machines are now back online and provisions for future restocking have been made.

ATM data from the last two weeks shows cash withdrawals spiking to record levels last week as New Zealand allowed the limited reopening of restaurants and entertainment venues.

“Consumers have rushed back to cash as soon as venues reopened in New Zealand,” said Tim Wildash, Chief Executive Officer of Next Payments, Australia and New Zealand’s leading independent ATM supplier.

“We have been taken by surprise and almost one quarter of machines ran out of cash last week. We under-estimated the rush for cash but all our ATMs are ready now for the future.

“All machines have been restocked and we are working with partners to ensure that all our ATMs are open and ready for cash withdrawals 24 hours per day, 7 days per week,” said Mr Wildash.

Cash withdrawn from Next ATMs in New Zealand (population 4.6 million) has been increasing 7 per cent year on year in 2019, pre-COVID-19.

Social distancing restrictions eased in New Zealand last week to allow restaurants, diners, bars and other businesses to open to groups of up to 10 people with a maximum of 100 people in a venue.

Drinks and or food must be delivered to the table to prevent congestion at bars and points of sale.

“Despite ongoing restrictions limiting the numbers of customers allowed in pubs and clubs, cash withdrawals have jumped up to unprecedented levels,” said Mr Wildash.

“This is great vote of confidence in cash.”

“Cash is safe, flexible and private,” said Tim Wildash, “I’m concerned that large card companies and banks are profiting from fear.”

There is no evidence linking cash to the transmission of COVID-19.

Cash is sanitised before being delivered by cash companies to venues and ATM operators.

Next Payments has issued advice to ATM owners and venue operators about how to ensure their cash machines remain clean and disease free.

For more comments, interview or information:
Tim Wildash – +61 418 336 599 / twildash@nextpayments.com.au
New Zealand: Craig Whale +64 21 440 683 / cwhale@nextpayments.co.nz
Jason Bryce, Journalist – +61 428 777 727 / media@nextpayments.com.au