The drop in cash machines more than doubled last year.

Around 6,000 ATMs disappeared and many free-to-use machines were converted to those charging fees.

Link, the UK’s main network, warns that without government action the number of ATMs could halve in “a couple of years”.

Their demise has accelerated in the Covid-19 crisis.

Cash withdrawn from ATMs fell from £116billion in 2019 to £81billion last year.

Around 6,000 ATMs have disappeared
Around 6,000 ATMs have disappeared

John Howells, chief executive of Link, said: “You have people saying, ‘We’re all going to go digital, we don’t need cash’.

"While that may be true one day, it’s definitely not true now.”

Link estimates five million still use cash though that is down from 20 million before the pandemic.

Cash machine numbers plunged from 60,662 in 2019 to 54,574 at the end of last month, with the drop comparing to a fall of 2,500 the previous year.s

Of those remaining, three-quarters are still free-to-use but many are being converted.

Last year, Chancellor Rishi Sunak vowed to bring in laws to ensure people can access cash but there are no firm plans.

Mr Howells wants action so that, where there is a last ATM in an area, it must remain free.