Concerns have been raised over a “digital divide” in East Renfrewshire after it was revealed the area lost 12 cash machines in just four years.

Figures compiled by online trading platform CMC Markets show almost one in five local ATMs (automated teller machines) have been shut down since July 2018.

It means East Renfrewshire now has fewer than six cashpoints per 10,000 residents, leading to fears older people in particular will find it hard to do their banking.

Michael Hewson, chief market analyst at CMC Markets, said: “By analysing the rate at which ATMs have closed over the past four years, we were able to see which areas are likely to go cashless first, as well as the areas with the easiest access to cash machines.

“With older generations being more reliant on cash machines, increasing closures of ATMs may exacerbate the digital divide unless banks continue with measures that aim to improve digital literacy.”

Researchers used data from the House of Commons and National Records of Scotland to establish the rate at which parliamentary constituencies are losing ATMs.

Aberdeen South is the area of Scotland that is set to go cashless the quickest, with a 36% decline in ATMs between 2018 and 2022. It lost 36 machines during that period.

West Dunbartonshire had the lowest rate of closures, with a 4% drop and just five machines lost.

The rate of ATM closures across Scotland between 2018 and 2022 was 18%.

Mr Hewson said the arrival of Covid-19 has helped to drive forward a cashless approach.

He added: “During the pandemic, consumers were reminded that using digital payment options over cash would allow them to pay for goods and services in a safer manner.

“Many found this to be more convenient than withdrawing cash and it appears to have only accelerated the already existing shift towards digital banking.”