Use of ATMs has plummeted in China as consumers have switched en masse to digital payments, a leading consultancy in the field of retail banking and banking automation has revealed.
China is by far the largest ATM market in the world, home to almost a quarter of the world’s cash machines, according to RBR’s study, titled Global ATM Market and Forecasts to 2023. But following years of explosive growth, the Chinese ATM sector went sharply into reverse in 2017, with deployers withdrawing 20,000 machines, revealed RBR.
China’s burgeoning middle class, it said, has embraced digital payments enthusiastically, and as demand for cash falls the number of ATMs in the country is expected to continue dropping. The move away from cash, at its most dramatic in China, is also contributing to falling ATM numbers in several western European countries.
Despite these trends, cash usage remains strong in many parts of the world, concluded RBR, and is a driver of ATM growth in many Asian markets, as well as in the Middle East, Africa, and Latin America. Bangladeshi ATM deployers, for example, are projected to increase their country’s total by over 60% by the end of 2023, as the government pushes for greater financial inclusion and as banks expand into more rural areas.
“Convenient access to cash remains a priority for a great many customers around the world, and ATMs will continue to be a key cash delivery channel in the years to come,” said Rowan Berridge, RBR associate and leader of the research.

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by Guy Matthews
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