12 noon on Friday 22 December is set to be the busiest time for ATM cash withdrawals

20 Dec, 2017

20 Dec 2017  For those planning to do some last-minute Christmas shopping – you have been warned: 12pm on Friday 22 December is set to be the busiest time for cash withdrawals at Santander ATMs across the UK.

Analysis of Santander’s own data shows that in the last two years, the last Friday before Christmas has seen a spike of ATM usage, with midday being the busiest time. Around £10 million has been withdrawn in this hour alone in the last couple of years.

Separate research commissioned by the bank – which looked into people’s spending habits around the festive period revealed the top reason for taking out cash during this period is to give as Christmas gifts.

When it comes to buying the Christmas tree, going out for festive drinks and shopping at Christmas markets, cash is also the preferred method of payment. However, the most popular way to pay for Christmas presents and food for Christmas lunch is to use a debit card.  Over a quarter of people (28 per cent) say they now use cash less than they did a year ago.

Santander’s research also revealed that 70 per cent of money conscious Brits will be monitoring their expenditure over the Christmas period. Twelve per cent will spend only cash in order to keep a rein on their finances. A third (33 per cent) will be checking their bank balance regularly while a fifth (19 per cent) will be sticking to a festive budget. However, one in five (21 per cent) admit to not monitoring their spending and simply hoping for the best.

Santander is urging shoppers taking out their Christmas cash to keep themselves safe – worryingly only two thirds (64 per cent) memorised their PIN when they last used a cash machine and only 62 per cent shielded the number pad when entering their PIN.

Matt Hall, Head of Banking and Unsecured Credit at Santander commented: “It’s tempting to splash the cash in the run up to Christmas, especially if you are buying things at the last minute. From mobile banking to overdraft alerts and our Spendlytics app, we offer many ways to help customers keep an eye on their money and expenditure.

“And remember, if you’re planning a last-minute dash to the cashpoint, keep your money and details safe. Busy cashpoints can mean rich pickings for criminals.”