The decline of ATMs is accelerating

They usually come at night, cause considerable damage to buildings and equipment, and steal millions in total. We are talking about criminals who attack ATMs. The figures for the last two years show that these are not isolated incidents.

Negative records for ATM explosions

3, 2, 1, bang – and the ATM goes down. It is easy for experienced criminals to steal the inside of an ATM. Using a crowbar and an explosive charge, they can gain access to the valuable contents in just a few minutes. What sounds like something out of a thriller is increasingly becoming reality.

In Germany, the Federal Criminal Police Office (BKA) recorded around 496 attempted and completed ATM bombings in 2022. This is the highest number since records began in 2005. The picture for 2023 is hardly rosier. A survey by the German newspaper Handelsblatt of the state criminal investigation offices showed no significant decline in the number of attacks last year.

If you break down the figures, there are attacks on ATMs every day in Germany. According to the BKA, the losses amount to a good 30 million euros.

ATM removal – faster than ever before

These costly attacks on machines, and in some cases branches, are certainly a reason for banks to reconsider one or two ATM locations. But only one. The slow decline of bank branches over the years is also contributing to the rapid decline of ATMs.

In 2022, the number of ATMs fell for the fourth year in a row – more than ever before. The decline of just under five per cent calculated by Barkow Consulting meant the end of a good 2,500 machines. Speculation about the future is already rife. Handelsblatt, for example, reports that experts believe the rate of decline could accelerate in the future.

Traditional cash supply secure – but changing

There is no end in sight for cash itself. Even though the number of ATMs is decreasing, their popularity is not diminishing. This is shown by the Deutsche Bundesbank’s Monthly Report for January 2023, which we summarise in our blog post “Cash supply secure – and efficient!”. In addition, more and more shoppers are taking advantage of cash withdrawals at checkouts.

So there is no need for citizens to worry about these developments: The cash supply in Germany is still secure. However, we need to look further afield and include the situation of cash stakeholders such as financial institutions, retailers and cash-in-transit companies in the ongoing discussion. After all, cash management can be expensive, time-consuming and challenging. Retailers and cash-in-transit companies should therefore adapt to the changing cash processes.

Embrace digitalisation!

The fact that digitalisation can, as it so often does, provide a remedy comes as no surprise to most managers. But what is stopping them? In 2023, for example, the retail sector in Germany was a good 30 points below the average digitalisation index. One reason for this is the relatively high proportion of smaller companies. But transformation in general, and software solutions in particular, also offer opportunities for them, most of which can be implemented with little effort.

Intelligent POS systems such as our ITR POS, for example, are a sensible first step on the much-needed road to digitalisation, overcoming current hurdles and, above all, delivering efficiency gains. They help retailers to cope with the changes in cash processes and enable them to deliver at the checkout. Time savings, transparency and security are also provided by another solution: our Interactive Cash Control (ICC). It maps the entire cash cycle and ensures optimum control and documentation of all processes, regardless of whether hardware-based cash processes are in place in the retail stores or not. In this way, the cash supply can be secured – efficiently and in line with the times.

 Looking for optimised cash processes? Let us work together to find the right solutions for your business!