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LINK cash withdrawal statistics show consumers in bullish Christmas mood

7.3% increase in value of December LINK cash withdrawals
More than 152 million LINK cash withdrawals in December
Over £9.7bn withdrawn
Average withdrawal reaches £64

18 January 2007 - Gloomy predictions about consumer spending at Christmas had little effect on cash machine withdrawals according to statistics from LINK, the operator of the UK cash machine network which showed that cash machines were busier than ever in the run up to and during the festive season.

A record number of 152,929,048 withdrawals from cash machines on the LINK network were made in December 2006. Over £9,767,000,000 was withdrawn from LINK cash machines across the UK, up 7.3% compared with 2005, with consumers withdrawing an average of almost £64 each visit, compared with £63 the year before.

It is no surprise that the week leading up to Christmas was particularly active with over £2,774,000,000 withdrawn from LINK cash machines, up 10.9% compared with 2005.

There was also a final dash for cash on the Friday before Christmas - 22 December –the busiest day ever for the LINK network when the average withdrawal rose to £82 and over £616,900,000 was withdrawn, an increase of 10.4% on the Friday before Christmas in 2005. In the hour between 12 noon and one pm, £56.9 million was withdrawn, nearly £1 million per minute

Whilst some retailers reported a quiet start to the festive season, this was not reflected in cash withdrawal levels. LINK saw a busy late November and early December, then a slow down between the 4 and 10 December before acceleration as Christmas approached.

Graham Mott, Head of Planning and Development at LINK, said, “This was a record year for seasonal cash machine transactions with figures reaching new heights this Christmas. Despite pessimistic predictions about consumer spending, it appears that UK consumers began their Christmas shopping and socialising towards the end November this year.”

“As is tradition, the last Friday before Christmas was the busiest day recorded this year despite the fact that there were still two remaining shopping days before Christmas. It appears that people were keen to get all their shopping out of the way and enjoy the festivities.”

Media Enquiries:

Kathryn Hughes/Heather Baker
hbl media
+44 (0)20 7612 1830

Notes for Editors:

The LINK ATM network connects all but a handful of the UK’s 60,600 cash machines.
In the past five years the number of LINK cash machines has grown from 36,000 to over 60,600 today and of these, over 34,200 are free to use, an all-time high.

LINK is the UK's national cash machine (ATM) interchange network and the busiest ATM transaction switch in the world. It deals with up to 226m transactions per month and at its busiest, it processes over 1 million transactions an hour.
There are over 130 million LINK cards in circulation from around 38 issuers.

Around 96% of all cash withdrawals are free of charge. A further 4% of cash withdrawals are made at charging machines, usually in convenience or remote locations where it would not be economic to run a free machine. In December 2006, in co-operation with Parliament, government and consumer groups, LINK Members agreed a programme further to increase the spread of free cash machines in the small proportion of areas where there is not currently convenient access to free machines, and where a free machine can make the most difference to local communities. Further details can be found at:
The value of free-of-charge LINK cash withdrawals has increased steadily year-on-year from around £3.7 billion per month in 2002 to over £7.7 billion per month today, as customers have become increasingly aware that the LINK Network means they can use for free any machine that does not display explicit warnings of charges.