Strong growth in ATM cash withdrawals over the past year suggest that proponents of the War on Cash are fighting an uphill battle.

According to data from analysts at RBR, global ATM cash withdrawal volumes grew by seven percent in 2014 with a total of 92 billion withdrawals made. Growth in the number of ATMs was even higher, and the global installed base passed the three million mark. 

The upsurge in usage was most evident in the Asia-Pacific, Middle East and Africa regions - in many developing markets ATM uptake is growing at a far greater pace than machine deployment. Both Bangladesh and Vietnam saw annual withdrawal volumes rise by a quarter - driven by increasing numbers of cards being issued to their large unbanked populations - although these countries’ installed bases only grew by 11% and four percent respectively.

In more mature markets, however, ATM usage levels are stagnating or even declining, but all regions except North America saw growth in the total volume of withdrawals.

Globally, the increase in ATM usage is forecast by RBR to outpace the growth in the installed base of ATMs between 2015 and 2020, to reach 128 billion, indicating that the appetite for cash remains strong.