More than £62m in cash was withdrawn from Post Office branches on the Friday before Christmas, the most ever in a single day, as people rushed to finish their festive shopping.
The record withdrawals on 22 December from the 11,500 Post Office branches across the UK beat the previous record of just over £51m, set on the final Friday before Christmas last year.
The record also reflects the sharp increase in the cost of living over the past two years as the rate of inflation hit a 41-year high of 11.1% late last year, although it has since eased to 3.9% in November, the lowest rate of increase in two years.
“For some people, being able to withdraw cash for free helped them to finish last-minute shopping for the big day, for others it may have been a last-minute gift,” said Ross Borkett, head of banking at the Post Office.”
Cash payments have made a wider comeback during the cost of living crisis, as people turn to “tangible” physical money to help them manage their budgets. In 2022, cash payments increased for the first time in a decade, rising by 7% to reach 6.4bn payments according to the banking body UK Finance.
On Christmas Day this year, when about 1,500 Post Office branches mostly located in convenience stores were open, personal customers withdrew £800,000.
However, it was also a day that recorded a significant number of consumers aiming to bank their Christmas gifts of cash and cheques, with £1.1m in personal deposits made. Business customers also deposited £1.06m through Post Office branches on Christmas Day.
“Millions of people rely on being able to access cash every day at their local Post Office and it is no different on Christmas Day,” said Borkett.
“Business cash deposits being made on Christmas Day indicate just how vital it is that pub and restaurant owners have somewhere open and convenient to deposit their much-needed Christmas cash takings ahead of a quieter January.”