Despite the alternative at the supermarket checkout: For many Germans, the ATM remains the first choice when they need fresh cash. However, the number of ATMs has been falling for years. New figures from the savings banks and Volksbanks reveal the dramatic extent.
The Germans love their cash. The proportion of card payments is increasing and digital payment offers such as Apple Pay or Google Pay are also becoming increasingly accepted. However, the majority of purchases are still paid for in cash. Having enough cash in your pocket is still a necessity these days. The slow pace is all the more worrying ATM extinction.
Savings banks and Volksbanks are dismantling many ATMs
That’s how they have Volks- und Raiffeisenbanken dismantled around 1,800 ATMs in 2021 and 2022. At the end of last year, their total number was 15,520, according to the industry association BVR. This results in a whopping minus of 10 percent (source: Handelsblatt).
Also at the savings bank, after all the market leader in private customer business, ATMs were dismantled. There is no data for last year, but according to Bundesbank figures, 2021 should 1,034 ATMs fell victim to the cutbacks. All in all, there were 21,582 ATMs operated by the Sparkasse during the measurement period.
There are many reasons why ATMs die. Promoted by the corona pandemic, Germans are increasingly paying digitally or by card. Added to this are the dismantling of branches as well ATM demolitions, which have increased significantly in recent years. The protective measures required are expensive and drag down the cost-benefit ratio.
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Deutsche Bank wants to restrict cash issuance at the counter
However, the Volksbanken and Raiffeisenbanken and savings banks are not alone in dismantling ATMs. The Oldenburgische Landesbank already caused a stir in 2022. The formerly 180 branches were reduced to 40 and with it the possibility to withdraw cash.
And Deutsche Bank manager Lars Stoy, who is responsible for private customer business, also wants to at least limit spending at the counter: “In the future I no longer want to offer cash in the branches, because holding cash causes costs,” explained the 51- year-olds at a non-public investor conference.