The vital role of the ATM on Black Friday

By : Colin Gordon

Friday 27th November 2015 is Black Friday again in North America - and, increasingly, around the world - the day after Thanksgiving, noted as the first day of the traditional Christmas shopping period for consumers. What often happens on this day is that crowds of consumers are drawn in to the many special offers by retailers. Such is the extent of consumer spending on this one day is that a massive $51 Billion USD was spent in 2014 according to


Consumers will understandably use a variety of payment methods this year to pay for their items be it on credit, debit cards or utilizing more modern methods such as mobile and the capability to pay bills online. In spite of this, cash still accounts for a significant number of payments in North America. A recent survey by statistica highlighted that over 55% of US consumers still use cash for at least half of their transactions. 33% of US consumers used cash most or all of the time.


Last year (2014), there were 6.4 Billion cash withdrawals (in terms of volume) undertaken at North American ATMs, according to Retail Banking Research Global ATM Market and Forecasts to 2020. These cash withdrawals totaled $845 Billion USD. Along with the volume of cash it is the incredible value of cash that is dispensed from these North American ATMs that is of significance come Black Friday. Breaking down this huge $845 Billion USD by days means that on average North American ATMs will dispense:

Every Hour: $96.4 Million

Every Minute: $1.6 Million

Every Second: $26,800


So, over the course of Black Friday that’s a phenomenal $2.3 Billion USD dispensed from the ATM in just one day. It is also likely that some of the previous day’s cash withdrawals will be used for Black Friday spending also, which is another $2.3 Billion. On average, each of North America’s 494,000 ATMs will handle around 1,100 cash withdrawals per month but it is fair to say that on 27th November this number will be much higher.


ATM deployers also know the demand that consumers are expected to place on the ATM on this particular day and need to ensure they properly manage the physical cash distribution throughout their fleet and keep their ATMs secure from skimming and logical and physical attacks. Plus, both financial institutions and retailers need to defend against widely dispersed threats of fraud.


The UK is an example of a country starting to embrace the American Black Friday tradition. Last year saw ATM replenishment (Source – G4S) increase by almost 10% on just one day -- such was the demand for cash. Last year in the UK was the “biggest ever Black Friday for cash management in the UK since retailers launched the promotion in 2010.”


And with Black Friday 2015 shaping up to be another multi-billion dollar shopping day in terms of consumer spending, ATM demand is likely to be even higher this time.

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.