The Christmas dash for cash at the ATM

By : Colin Gordon

December 15, 2014 08:35 PM

CD357_31_RET_Girls-with-shopping-bags_XLAs the festive period approaches and consumer spending increases, the demand for cash from the ATM generally always peaks in December as consumers withdraw cash for spending on gifts, shopping and other activities. While there has been an increase in electronic payments each year, particularly for retail purchases, the role of cash is still incredibly important, especially during the month of December where consumer spending reaches an all-time high.

So, just how much is the average consumer likely to withdraw from the ATM during the Christmas period or any other time of year?  Well, according to Retail Banking Research, the average cash withdrawal for each transaction around the globe is a surprisingly high $160.

Did you also know? The busiest hour for an ATM is usually between noon and 1pm on the Friday before Christmas.  (Source - )

It is fair to assume that cash withdrawals will be significantly higher in December and it is already known that some ATMs in high foot traffic locations handle in excess of 15,000 transactions per month.  Globally, the average ATM handles 2,700 withdrawals monthly. This will heighten with consumer spending in December and also the number of bank holidays, which means consumers are more likely to visit an ATM to withdraw cash.

Here are some other numbers to consider: $13 trillion is withdrawn from ATMs around the globe each year. This means that potentially $35.6B will be withdrawn from ATMs worldwide daily in December.  When we break this down even further this equates to $2.55 million being withdrawn from ATMs around the globe every minute, or $424,747 every second during the holiday period.

Cash is also likely to be given as a gift when you run out of ideas for the “person that has everything.” Cash remains something you can touch and feel. Cash visualizes a greater sense of ‘giving’ more than any electronic transfer, while also being more secure, trusted and reliable than any gift voucher or coupon.

So, when you are doing your Christmas shopping or opening your gifts–it has to some extent all been made possible by the cash that has come from the humble ATM.


Colin Gordon

Financial Services SelfServ, Marketing Manager

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Colin Gordon is a Global ATM Marketing Manager based at NCR’s R&D Center in Dundee, Scotland. Colin is responsible for the marketing of NCR’s financial hardware portfolio with a specific focus on activities such as demand generation, sales enablement, market analysis and customer engagements for the ATM business.