Number of ATMs worldwide starts falling, research shows
The number of ATMs worldwide has started falling as big economies, such as China and India, increasingly go cashless, Retail Banking Research shows.
With cash payments declining, banks have to rethink their business models. Cashless technologies like cryptocurrencies and QR codes are changing the competitive dynamics of the financial services industry and raising new challenges for regulators.
The total number of ATMs around the world fell for the first time in 2018, slipping 1% to about 3.24 million units at the end of the year, according to Retail Banking Research, a UK-based research company specialising in banking technology, cards, and payments.
In China, the world’s largest market, the number of ATMs fell 6.8%. The US, the second-largest ATM market, saw the total drop 0.9% to 433,500. In Japan, which ranks fourth, the number of machines slipped 0.2% to 202,300. This indicates a major shift – ATMs became ubiquitous in Japan over the last two decades as machines were installed in convenience stores. But the number of ATMs is falling even here.
Customers are increasingly banking online, reducing the need for physical locations. JPMorgan Chase, for example, operated 5,028 branches at the end of March 2019, down 11% from five years earlier. On the other hand, subscribers to its mobile banking services surged 110% over the same period. Japanese banks are also shrinking their networks. Mizuho Financial Group plans to close 130 branches by fiscal 2024, while MUFG Bank, the banking unit of Mitsubishi UFJ Financial Group, will prune its network by about 180 locations by fiscal 2023.
While there are still 1.7 billion people worldwide without bank accounts, two-thirds of those people have mobile phones that can access online financial services, according to the World Bank.