The ongoing need for cash, and measures to advance financial inclusion, led to more ATMs being installed in nearly half of the countries analysed in a study of 2020 trends. Many ATMs are also offering more services, providing an alternative to opening more branches in underbanked areas.
Conducted by Retail Banking Research (RBR)—a provider of banking and retail technology and payment research—the Global ATM Market and Forecasts to 2026 study provides a comprehensive analysis of developments in, and the future of the worldwide ATM market, covering 183 countries.
The report found that, despite gains in 51 of the 110 markets covered in detail, there was a slight overall drop in the number of cash machines deployed worldwide. This was largely driven by the removal of 50,000 machines across China, which accounted for over half of the global decline.
Egypt saw one of the greatest increases in ATM deployment, with its numbers rising 12 percent from 2019. The report attributes this to a campaign by the Central Bank of Egypt that promoted cash machines as a way of maintaining banking services—and extending them to unbanked populations—in the midst of the COVID-19 pandemic.
While the total number of ATMs worldwide has fallen slightly, the sophistication of ATMs that are being installed continues to increase as banks look to ATMs to fulfil transactions previously conducted at the teller.
RBR foresees growth returning to several markets that saw declines in 2020, with demand for cash and drives towards better financial inclusion continuing to encourage ATM deployment. It forecasts a rising number of machines in two-thirds of all markets, with growth across Africa and the Middle East, Latin America, Central and Eastern Europe and Asia-Pacific. It also predicts providers across the United States will reopen ATMs that were closed due to reduced footfall in malls and retail outlets during the pandemic.