Quick draw at high noon: 22nd December set to be the busiest time for ATM cash withdrawals

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. 

Analysis1 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 Around £10 million has been withdrawn in this hour alone in the last couple of years.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 research2 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 PIN3.

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.” 

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The information contained in our press releases is intended solely for journalists and should not be used by consumers to make financial decisions.

Notes to Editors

  1. Santander UK analysis of its own data: November 2017.
  2. Research carried out online by Opinium from 28 – 30 November 2017 amongst a nationally representative sample of 2,003 adults.
  3. Santander offers the following tips on avoiding ATM fraud:
  • When withdrawing money at an ATM look out for any signs that the machine has been tampered with.  Fraudsters use a number of ways to ‘modify’ cashpoints so they can get hold of your card and PIN details:
    • They may fit a skimmer attachment – this is a device that can record your card details when you use it at a cashpoint. It will be placed by the card entry area and usually look a different colour or material from the rest of the machine;
    • Hidden cameras or mirrors may also be placed around the cashpoint – look out for places these could be hidden e.g. a nearby leaflet stand, or signs of little holes or new stickers in the machine that they could be behind; and
    • Mirrors should be pointing behind you so you can see if anyone is looking over your shoulder they should not be faced towards the keypad.

      If you think the machine looks suspicious in any way, don’t use it and report it to the bank.
  • Look out for machines with anti-fraud features. Some machines are fitted with anti-skimming devices (this is usually a green beak that sticks out) or alternatively use a Contactless ATM because the card can’t be skimmed or retained – over 90% of Santander’s cashpoints now offer contactless withdrawals.  And look out for PIN pads with hand covers to protect your number from onlookers.
  • If your card gets stuck in the cashpoint, phone your bank immediately. While it may be a simple malfunction, it could be that a device has been used to make your card stick so it can be retrieved by fraudsters later.
  • Distraction is a common way for fraudsters to commit ATM fraud. Be very wary of anybody who bumps into you, asks you a question, offers to help while you are using the cashpoint. They could be doing this to take your focus away from your card or your cash so they can take it while you’re not looking. Often they will also have watched while you enter your pin number so have all they need to fraudulently use your card.
  • Memorise your PIN. If you have it written down it can be captured by a camera, or a bystander and then used if they manage to get hold of your card or details from it. 
  • Always shield the number pad when entering your pin, this will generally make it impossible for hidden cameras or bystanders to see it. Some machines are fitted with a keyboard cover to provide this protection.
  • Once you’ve completed a transaction at the cash machine, make sure you put your money and card away safely straight away. And if you have a receipt take it with you and destroy it carefully once you have finished with it.

About Us
Santander UK is a financial services provider in the UK that offers a wide range of personal and commercial financial products and services. It has brought real competition to the UK, through its innovative products for retail customers and relationship banking model for UK SMEs. At 30 June 2017, the bank serves around 14 million active customers with c19,500 employees and operates through 826 branches (which includes 61 university branches) and 65 regional Corporate Business Centres. Santander UK is subject to the full supervision of the Financial Conduct Authority (FCA) and the Prudential Regulation Authority (PRA) in the UK. Santander UK plc customers are protected by the Financial Services Compensation Scheme (FSCS) in the UK. All accounts opened with Santander UK plc, Isle of Man Branch have situs in the Isle of Man and therefore are covered by the Isle of Man Depositors’ Compensation Scheme as set out in the Isle of Man Depositors’ Compensation Scheme Regulations 2010 and not covered by the UK Financial Services Compensation Scheme.

Banco Santander is a leading retail and commercial bank, founded in 1857 and headquartered in Spain. It has a meaningful market share in 10 core countries in Europe and the Americas, and is among the world’s top banks by market capitalization. At the end of June 2017, Banco Santander had EUR 1.65 trillion in managed funds, 131 million customers, 13,800 branches and 200,000 employees. Banco Santander made attributable profit of EUR 3.6 billion in the first half of 2017, an increase of 24% compared to the same period last year.

Media Enquiries

Miranda Seymour      T: 020 7756 4189      M: 07860 857999      E: miranda.seymour@santander.co.uk  

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