More than eight million ATMs have been decommissioned in the last 18 months, reports consumer watchdog Which?
It’s a drop of 13 per cent of machines across the country.
The vast majority were taken out of action during the lockdown periods from March 2020 to May 2021.
Research also highlighted 801 bank branches being closed.
Another 103 are scheduled to shut before the end of the year.
The closure of facilities is depriving many customers of cash – particularly the elderly and those without Internet access.
Gareth Shaw, Which? head of money, said:
“These stark figures show the extent of the damage caused by the pandemic to the already fragile cash system and demonstrate the consequences that this is having on consumers who are trying to withdraw cash.
“While many people can now bank digitally, millions of people are not yet ready or able to do so.
“It is consumers who are looking to withdraw and spend cash in nearby shops or the high street who will be hardest hit if they are left without a way to access it locally.
“This should serve as a wake-up call to the Government and the Financial Conduct Authority (FCA).
“The cash system is continuing to crumble and legislation on safeguarding access to cash must be introduced swiftly.”
A Treasury spokesperson said:
“We’ve committed to legislate to protect access to cash across the UK and we’re currently consulting on proposals for new laws to make sure people only need to travel a reasonable distance to pay in or take out cash.”