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£1 million a minute: One expensive lunch-break

22 January 2007
Cash withdrawals from Link machines across the UK were up 7.3 per cent on 2005 in the run-up to Christmas, figures from the ATM operators have revealed.

2006 was "a record year for seasonal cash machine transactions", said Graham Mott, head of planning and development at Link as the average amount withdrawn crept up from £63 to £64 per person.

The record number of cash withdrawals – almost 153 million in total – suggests that predictions about the advent of exclusively debit and credit card-based consumer spending may be premature.

Moreover, on the Friday before Christmas – December 22nd – the average amount withdrawn soared to £82 as customers struggled to buy all their presents at once.

Last-minute panic buying on the Friday before Christmas was up 10.4 per cent on the same day in 2005 – and between noon and 13:00, the office lunch break, almost £1 million was withdrawn every minute.

The introduction of a new financial advisory body by the Treasury, announced earlier this week, aims to inform consumers about the consequences of their spending and encourage savings habits.

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