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Barclays predicts record Christmas spending

Figures from Barclays predict that a record £23 billion will be spent on debit cards throughout December – a four per cent increase on the same time last year. Supermarkets will pocket £5 billion in their busiest month of the year whilst over £1 billion will be spent at petrol stations, fuelling the great Christmas getaway.

The extra bank holiday over the Christmas weekend is likely to see high streets and shopping centres across the UK heaving with shoppers keen to make the most of the annual sales and snap up a bargain. Department stores will attract £650 million of debit card spending over December whilst jewellers’ tills will be ringing to the tune of £210 million. Not surprisingly with Christmas being the time to be merry, restaurants and pubs will have their busiest time of the year with debit cards settling £600 million of bills whilst £75 million will be spent in off-licences.

An equally staggering £17.8 billion of cash will be withdrawn from ATMs and banks throughout December. The busiest day for ATMs is expected to be Friday 18th December as the festive party season gets in full swing and the high street buzzes with last minute Christmas shoppers. Peak time for ATM withdrawals is likely to be 12pm to 1pm lunchtime, when over £24,000 will be withdrawn every second.

Brian Cunnington, Head of Debit Cards for Barclays, comments: “We all know Christmas is the season of goodwill but that usually means it’s the season for spending as well. With so much shopping and entertaining to be done debit cards are set to be well used throughout the month. Nearly all shops, restaurants, bars and online companies accept debit cards so it is the easiest way to get your Christmas spending done quickly and securely. We would remind customers to be careful to take care of their card and their PIN, especially when using their PIN in crowded places.”

Barclays is the first bank in the UK to have contactless technology available on its debit and credit cards. Since March 2009, most Barclays debit cards that have been issued or reissued have had contactless technology built in as standard, allowing customers to pay for transactions of £10 or less by holding their card up to a special reader, without the need to enter a PIN or insert the card into a terminal.

For more information, go to www.barclays.co.uk