Coronavirus influences patterns of ATM usage in Latvia

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The coronacrisis has influenced human behavior in numerous ways, some directly, some indirectly. Among the latter category is the usage of automated teller machines (ATMs), also known as cash machines or bankomāti, according to data from Luminor bank.

In the summer months, the average amount of money withdrawn from ATMs has remained unchanged compared to the previous year - an average of 163 euros are withdrawn in cash per month, according to Luminor bank data. However, as a result of the pandemic, the number of ATMs has decreased, which means that people withdraw money less often, but in larger amounts.

 Compared to other Baltic countries, in Latvia the average amount withdrawn from ATMs per month is the lowest, in Lithuania it is 32% higher than in Latvia, but in Estonia - 18% higher. 

"The first months of the pandemic saw a sharp decline in both the frequency of ATM use and the amount of money withdrawn. The decline in the volume was similar in all Baltic countries - the amount of money withdrawn from ATMs decreased by an average of 15-17%," said Luminor. 

The number of transactions at ATMs decreased the most in Estonia (-38%), in Lithuania the decrease was 32%, but in Latvia - 23%, which means that people in Latvia used ATMs more often than in neighboring countries.

"Although the population is increasingly using various non-cash payments, the importance of cash has not diminished. In August this year, the share of cash in settlements decreased to 32%, which is the lowest indicator in recent years. However, the amount of cash withdrawn from ATMs has remained fairly unchanged. This could indicate that people may be saving cash,” said Jekaterina Ziniča, Luminor's Head of Development in the Baltics.

She pointed out that the average amounts people withdraw from ATMs also show seasonal trends. For example, the amount of money withdrawn from ATMs during the summer holidays increased by about 18%, which is mainly due to the fact that people traveled more in Latvia and used cash to shop in various markets, country shops and elsewhere. Also in September, when school resumed, there was a slight increase.

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