Record spending as last minute shoppers expected to shop till they drop 20 Dec 2006 08:30 Having analysed December 2005 and early December 2006 Christmas spending patterns Barclays expects £490 million to be withdrawn from the country’s cash machines between 10 am and 3.00 pm on Saturday December 23rd, the busiest period of the whole year. Together with £1.5 billion spending on debit and credit cards, a total of £2.5 billion will be spent on the 23rd beating the next busiest day, December 22nd by £230 million. If you want to avoid the busiest hour at cash machines try to avoid 12 – 1 pm on Saturday when just over 1 million cash machine transactions will take place at the 50,000 plus cash machines across the UK. Barclays expects its own busiest machines to be in Liverpool, Brixton and Newcastle upon Tyne. During the month of December over £15.5 billion will be withdrawn from cash machines and £31.6 billion spent on debit and credit cards, making a grand spending total of £47 billion this Christmas, an increase of about four per cent on last year. Barnaby Davis, Electronic Banking Director for Barclays said: “The run up to Christmas is a busy time for everyone not least for our own staff. Action plans are in place to ensure cash machines remain stocked despite the level of activity in a really short space of time, to make sure even those very last minute purchases can be made.” Barclays has over 3,800 cash machines in the UK, over 11 million current accounts holders and over 11 million Barclaycard customers.