Banks in Spain are slowly starting to get rid of their ATMs accross the entire country. Since the COVID-19 pandemic hit Europe in early 2020, Spanish banks have removed 2,200 ATMs making it harder for people to withdraw money.
Currently, Spain now has 48,300 ATMs, the same number it had in 2001. The ATMs disappearance coincides with branch closures as the banks look to tighten their belts and cut costs. If you ask the banks why they are closing branches, they will tell you that it is part of a massive shift in digital banking rather than in-person customer service. With the closures, Spain now has the same number of bank branches it had 44 years ago, in 1977
Rather than trying to make it look like the banks want to cut overheads and reduce employees, they say it is because more people are using cards and not cash. While the global medical emergency helped to vindicate what the banks were doing, the trend was already well underway before the pandemic.
Despite people using debit cards or making payments online, many older people who are not tech-savvy prefer to use cash. They and many others who work in the black economy rely on using cash to pay for their everyday needs.
The loss of ATMs is particularly worrying for people who live in small villages that may only have one bank. If that bank were to close the branch, many people would have difficulty getting hold of cash.
Sadly, this is all a part of becoming a cashless society that governments want to impose on their citizens. Having to pay for goods and services electronically exposes a person’s income and the source of how they receive the money.