Cash and cash is used less and less: in 2017, card operations tripled cash withdrawals, to exceed 3,400 million transactions after growing 13% year-on-year. In the same way, the amount of the paid operations with plastic in TPV exceeded the amount of cash withdrawn in ATMs, a trend that was imposed for the first time in 2016 and was repeated last year. This is how it is detailed the National Commission of Markets and Competition (CNMC) in its Report on withdrawal of cash at ATMs published on Thursday, where it shows that the change in the commission policy imposed by the big bank in July 2015 has had an impact on the habits of consumers.
Then, the leading financial institution in ATMs installed in Spain, Caixabank, produced a paradigm shift in the commission system when announcing that it would charge two euros for the use of ATMs to which their customers were not. IEven led to a legislative change to avoid charging double commission to consumers.
The supervisor, who has monitored the policies put in place by the entities and the behavior of consumers during the three last years, highlights that banking has made the customer is faithful to its ATM network. Likewise, it has detected that the average amount of cash withdrawals has increased. The number of ATMs, on the other hand, grew again in 2016 for the first time since 2008, although follow below the figure then. There was also growth in 2017, which closed with 50,839 ATMs, 1.7% more than in 2016, something that according to the CNMC could anticipate a change in trend compared to the last seven years of continuous reduction.
The new system, added to the operations of concentration of entities that have occurred since then in the financial sector, has in some cases translated into agreements between entities that have made commission policy a business strategy. The CNMC highlights that three large groups have been identified: the entities without agreements (Caixabank, Santander and BBVA), the Euro6000 agreement and the Tripartite agreement (Bankia, Sabadell and Euro6000). On the other hand, there have been a multitude of agreements aimed at minimizing the commissions charged to customers, so that to assume the commissions or pass them on to the client has become a variable of the commercial policy.
The CNMC clarifies that, in general terms, the entities that set fewer fees have experienced an increase in the operation of their ATMs. Consumers use their bank's network or that of the entities with which their bank has agreements.
To the greater number of operations the reduction of the average value of the same ones is added, that has happened of the 52 euros of average in 2005 up to 40 euros of average in 2017, informs the CNMC. This tendency has been favored by the appearance of new means of payment such as the withdrawal of cash through a mobile application or make transactions between consumers directly, from account to account.
Although the number of ATMs has grown again, 61% of them are still concentrated in six entities: Caixabank, Santander, BBVA, Bankia, Sabadell and Euro Automatic Cash (Popular). Caixabank has 18.5%, BBVA with 12.5%, Bankia and Santander with 10% each.
Since 2015, Spain occupies the fifth position in the EU by number of ATMs and has one terminal per 996 inhabitants, but its territorial distribution is uneven. In general terms, the largest number is concentrated in Catalonia, Madrid and Andalusia; on the contrary, the smaller Ceuta and Melilla, La Rioja and Cantabria.