East London market towns record UK's highest ATM use

Cash remains king in parts of the UK with East London market hotspots claiming the top three spots for ATM use, according to figures from Nationwide Building Society.

31 March 2015

Despite a host of new developments in the payments industry and a move by customers towards contactless payments and online and mobile banking, carrying hard cash remains a popular option in specific areas. And despite numerous forecasts of the demise of cash, figures* show that use of cash has remained broadly unchanged for more than a decade and predictions are that it will continue at roughly the same level over the next ten years.

Nationwide’s figures show that the most popular Nationwide cash machine is in East Ham, located in the London Borough of Newham – home of West Ham United and a number of popular markets**. The customer data shows that Dagenham and Bow, also East London, take second and third spots respectively for number of transactions.


All these areas, and indeed much of East London, has a rich history of street markets and independent traders, meaning people are historically likely to use cash to pay for goods as opposed to card, or alternative payment methods.

The top ten areas for cash machine use and their recorded footfall account for around 1.8 million transactions per year. In order they are: East Ham (East London) Dagenham (East London), Bow (East London), Manchester, Swindon (Wiltshire), Bournemouth (Dorset), Glasgow (Scotland), Brighton (East Sussex), Ealing (West London), Brixton (South London).

Phil Smith, Nationwide’s Head of Current Accounts, said: “Cash remains as popular as ever, with industry figures showing ATM use has not been significantly affected by the digital revolution. As Britain’s biggest building society, we believe it is important to offer a range of payment solutions for our customers – traditional and modern.

“The appetite to buy items with the money in our pockets is particularly strong in places such as markets, where there might not currently be an option to pay electronically. And with East London having such a strong market history, it is perhaps no wonder that cash machine usage is greatest in the area.

“Our aim is to offer a range of payment options that suit the different needs of our customers. This includes state-of-the-art cash machines, through to new and exciting ways to buy goods such as contactless debit cards, the V.me digital wallet and the launch of Paym in the near future. We continue to make further developments to ensure people have choice on how and where they pay.”

Despite the propensity of markets to use cash, the National Market Traders Federation (NMTF) maintains the landscape is rapidly changing in line with modern payment methods.

NMTF’s Chief Executive Officer, Joe Harrison, said: “Whilst we recognise traditional markets have been a place for predominantly cash transactions, and to this end ATMs near to markets are naturally more heavily used, the trends of people carrying cash in markets is getting less and less. We have for the last eight to 10 years promoted to our membership the use of mobile terminals in order to facilitate the public enabling them to use their cards. We have now at present well over 6,000 members offering this facility. The big advantage to those who are selling small cost items is that the new mobile terminals now have a contactless facility.”

*Source Payments Council – UK Payments Market 2014.
**Markets in The London Borough of Newham include: East Ham Market Hall, Queen’s Market, Rathbone Market, Woodgrange Market Place, Stratford Indoor and Outdoor Markets, Pilgrim’s Way Market

Nationwide is the world's largest building society as well as one of the largest savings providers and a top-three provider of mortgages in the UK. It is also a major provider of current accounts, credit cards, ISAs and personal loans. Nationwide has around 15 million customers.

Customers can manage their finances in a branch, via the mobile app, on the telephone, internet and post. The Society has around 18,000 employees. Nationwide's head office is in Swindon with administration centres based in Northampton, Bournemouth and Dunfermline. The Society also has a number of call centres across the UK.

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