As cashless, online, and mobile expand, ATMs begin to contract
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As cashless, online, and mobile expand, ATMs begin to contract

2019 is a landmark year in the payments-world for one major reason: for the first time ever, there are fewer ATMs worldwide than there were a year ago. That’s a big development: ten years ago, as the world came to terms with the tail-end of the financial crisis, American economist and former Fed chairman Paul Volcker described ATMs as the last financial innovation to improve society. Today, it appears, new innovations are out-competing it on the social good front, as well as many others.

Payment companies held in Dominion’s Global Trends Ecommerce Fund (Visa, Mastercard, PayPal, Global Payments) are having an incredible year, share prices soaring

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Source: Yahoo Finance

The payment providers held in Dominion’s Ecommerce Fund are driving innovations into the marketplace – all of which have the power to increase social good. PayPal has offered cheap loans to its poorer users on an interest-free basis; Mastercard is making it easier for workers in the gig economy to access their funds in real-time; Visa, Global Payments, and others, are making ecommerce safer and more transparent than every before with a wide range of security products including biometrics and blockchain-based verification systems. These financial innovations sit within companies that are responsive to a growing need for ethical businesses – millennials don’t just want regular credit card statements… they want them emailed so we don’t have to cut down forests.

These innovations aren’t just ethically better, though – they increase access, convenience, and engagement for users, and they decrease costs. Taken together, those things simply make cashless alternatives more competitive than their paper-money predecessors.

ATMs are still ubiquitous, but there are 1% fewer of them today than there were a year ago. Declines in four of the world’s largest markets – China, the US, Japan, and Brazil – drove the global figure down, while the last of the big five (India) saw growth slow. One of the reasons India is still seeing a rise in the number of ATMs – however small – is the relative dearth of them in the country. For that reason, ATMs won’t disappear overnight. As countries like India and Africa continue to urbanise, we can expect to see declines come in fractionally over the coming years. However, a page is undeniably being turned for the global financial system… just very slowly.


Dominion holds Visa, Mastercard, PayPal, and Global Payments, as well as other companies affected by the trends discussed in this article, in its Global Trends Ecommerce Fund.

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