Cash machine withdrawals in the north-east have plunged during the coronavirus crisis, new figures show.
Analysis by ATM network Link reveals ATM usage is declined throughout the UK.
On average, there was a 60% annual fall in the volume of ATM withdrawals nationally in April, with some rural areas as well as city centres recording the biggest drop-offs.
In Aberdeen North there were 314,247 withdrawals in 2019 compared to 98301 this year, a decrease of 69%.
For Aberdeen South this figure was 17,4278 this year compared to 53,038 in 2019 – a drop of 70%.
While in West Aberdeenshire and Kincardineshire the figures revealed usage went from 137,453 to 34,175, dropping 75%.
In Banff and Buchan the 2019 figures were 175,087 and 66132 for 2020, dropping 62%, for Angus it was 203,306 for 2019 to 77,520, also a decline of 62%.
For Gordon withdrawals went from 189,182 to 51,232, a reduction of 73%, and in Moray from 175,003 to 59,635, down 66%.
Keep up to date with the latest news with The Evening Express newsletter
Link compared ATM withdrawals in April 2020 with April 2019 across parliamentary constituencies.
It found that the Cities of London and Westminster saw the biggest fall, with withdrawals shrinking by 91%.
Glasgow Central recorded the next biggest decline, at 82%.
Westmorland and Lonsdale, which covers parts of the Lake District and the Yorkshire Dales, was also in the top five places with the biggest declines in cash withdrawals, at 81%.
The smallest declines were in Liverpool Walton and Birmingham Hodge Hill, which both saw 43% falls in withdrawals.
Some of the places where cash use fell the quickest aren’t all city centres or major transport hubs – some are rural, with older populations, or rely on tourism
Link added that, more recently, ATM withdrawal levels have recovered to some extent compared with April, and are now down generally across the UK by around 45% compared with a year ago.
Link head of financial inclusion Nick Quin said: “Unsurprisingly, cash use fell during the lockdown; however, we shouldn’t rush to the conclusion that all roads lead to a cashless UK.
“Some of the places where cash use fell the quickest aren’t all city centres or major transport hubs – some are rural, with older populations, or rely on tourism.
“The areas where people have continued to use cash more have been those most deprived communities.
“We know from our own research that coronavirus will affect the future use of cash. However, what’s clear is that every individual community is different. Digital payments do not work for all consumers at all times and it is the most vulnerable that are often most reliant on cash.
“Link believes that, to safeguard free access to cash in the longer term, legislation is needed and we welcomed the Chancellor’s Budget commitment to legislate on this issue. However, with cash usage rapidly falling during Covid-19, it is now more important, and urgent, than ever.”
Recent research from Link found that more consumers are turning to contactless and digital payments during the coronavirus crisis, with nearly three-quarters (72%) suggesting Covid-19 will affect their future use of cash.