UK customers are expected to withdraw around £16.5 billion from cash machines around the country this Christmas, breaking all previous records, according to forecasts from The Link Interchange Network.
On the basis of transactions seen to date, Link says cash withdrawals are set to be five per cent higher this month than in December 2004.
Edwin Latter, card scheme director says: "Christmas is always the busiest time of the year for cash withdrawals and this year looks no exception.
"On the busiest shopping days, we expect over one million Link transactions per hour, with around half a million pounds dispensed per minute."
By contrast, Latter says January is the quietest month for ATM withdrawals, with the volume and value of transactions 15% - 20% lower than in December.
Industry figures predict a fall in spending on credit cards this Christmas, but increased use of debit cards and cash.