Cashless Countries Europe Edition

Following the contact-free payment increase during the coronavirus pandemic, plus the recent announcement that old-school £20 and £50 notes will be obsolete by September 30th 2022, bank notes and coins are continuing to be phased out. But what does this mean for ATM usage?
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Using International Monetary Fund and United Nations data, money.co.uk can reveal the countries with the highest and lowest ATM depletion across Europe, as well as the countries with the highest number of ATMs per 100,000 people. 

Thinking of going cashless? You may want to compare our best credit card deals.

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European Countries With Lowest ATM Depletion

Russia

Russia’s already high number of ATMs has continued to rise, increasing by 67% from 2010 - 2020. 

Austria

Austria’s cash usage shows no signs of slowing, with their ATM numbers increasing 59% from 2010-2020.

Bosnia and Herzegovina

In third place, Bosnia and Herzegovina have increased their ATM offering by 48% since 2010.

What are the advantages of ATMs?

  • 24-hour service: The ATM provides service round the clock, meaning people can visit an ATM any time day or night.

  • Convenience: The ATM gives convenience to bank customers since they are often located in places such as airports and train stations, meaning customers don’t always have to be near a bank to obtain their cash.

  • Reduced workload: ATMs reduce the pressure and workload of bank tellers, which in turn reduces queues at bank premises.

What are the disadvantages of ATMs?

  • Security:  Unlike bank tellers, ATMs do not require the person performing the transaction to present a picture identification, they simply need the card and a pin number. This means if a bank card is stolen and the pin number somehow obtained, the criminal can get access to funds. Check out our guide on how to keep your bank details safe here.

  • Basic transactions: ATMs cannot perform complex transactions e.g moving money between accounts or sending money abroad, making them obsolete to some people. 

  • Privacy: Unlike banks where premises are monitored by security guards, ATMs leave the user open to privacy leaks e.g someone behind them attempting to steal their pin number, or even cameras being placed above the ATM for the same purpose. For this reason, always shield the pin pad on an ATM with your hand while entering your pin number. Find out the four ATM scams you need to look out for here.

  • Fees: When using an ATM that isn't part of your bank's network of machines, the machine sometimes notifies you about a fee charged by the bank or company that operates the ATM. You can avoid this by only using ATMs that are part of your bank’s network, but this takes away the convenience factor.  ATMs also often charge fees when you are using a credit card rather than a debit card - find out more here.

  • Difficulty of use: For those who are unfamiliar with technology, using an ATM might cause some issues. An ATM is incapable of providing personalised instruction to the user in a way that a human teller can.

  • Eating a card: On occasion, an ATM may malfunction and swallow the user's card. This will result in them having to contact their bank to retrieve it, and they may be left without a card for a period of time.

Which country has the most ATMs in Europe?

Ranked: European Countries With The Most To Least ATMs Per Capita

Using UN population data for each European country along with IMF data stating the amount of ATMs per country in 2020, our personal finance experts worked out how many ATMs there were per capita, and per 100,000 people.

CountryPopulationNumber of ATMs 2020Number of ATMs per capitaNumber of ATMs per 100,000 people
Austria8901064128180.0014401144
Portugal10295909148090.0014383143.8
Russia1435070001940340.0013521135.2
Croatia405816548960.0012065120.6
San Marino34805410.001178117.8
Luxembourg6289285720.000909590.9
Spain47332614419120.000885588.5
Ukraine41732779347560.000832883.3
United Kingdom67081234545740.000813681.4
Switzerland869608869010.000793679.4
Italy59641488467970.000784678.5
Bulgaria695148254000.000776877.7
Montenegro6218734160.000668966.9
Slovenia210897714060.000666766.7
Poland37929735218290.000575557.6
Greece1071856559100.000551455.1
Estonia13300687180.000539854
Slovakia545787329100.000533253.3
Romania19201662102310.000532853.3
Hungary976952650040.000512251.2
Iceland3641341760.000483348.3
North Macedonia207625510010.000482148.2
Latvia18932239120.000481748.2
Ireland496444023690.000477247.7
Bosnia and Herzegovina349201816270.000465946.6
Belarus938000043450.000463246.3
Serbia692670530420.000439243.9
Moldova259710011200.000431343.1
Malta5145642010.000390639.1
Denmark582533720780.000356735.7
Lithuania27840008940.000321132.1
Finland552529217370.000314431.4
Netherlands1747469352970.000303130.3
Norway536758014390.000268126.8
Albania28459557380.000259325.9
Sweden1038000024140.000232623.3

* Data not available for Monaco, France, Belgium, Czech Republic (Czechia) and Germany.

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