December 3, 2019 12:01:00 AM
Six in 10 (59%) people who celebrate Christmas are likely to use cash instead of cards when buying gifts, treats or socialising during the festive season, a survey has revealed.
Those living in rural areas are particularly likely to use cash to celebrate, with two-thirds (66%) favouring notes and coins, the Post Office found.
While contactless card use has surged in recent years, perhaps some are intending to use physical money over Christmas to help them stick to a budget.
Nearly half (45%) are also likely to give cash as a gift this Christmas, according to the Post Office’s poll of more than 2,100 people across the UK.
More than half (54%) are planning to visit one of the Post Office’s 11,500 branches during the festive period.
Among those who intend to visit a branch, a fifth (20%) intend to withdraw cash, rising to 30% of people living in rural areas.
Concerns around access to cash have been growing amid ATM and bank branch closures.
The Post Office has an agreement with many banks which helps to plug some gaps in the system.
It enables customers of those banks to do their day-to-day banking through Post Office branches.
More than two-thirds (69%) of people who intend to visit Post Office branches over the festive season will post Christmas cards and gifts and a further 22% intend to visit to collect or return online shopping.
Martin Kearsley, banking services director at the Post Office, said: “Millions of customers of UK banks can rely on our branches for easy access to cash in the run-up to Christmas.
“Many branches are open longer hours and 4,000 are open seven days a week.”
Airton Post Office, based in Town End Farm Shop in Malhamdale, North Yorkshire, is set to celebrate its first Christmas.
The shop previously featured on the BBC’s Top Of The Shop With Tom Kerridge in 2018 and has been providing Post Office services since October this year.
With the nearest bank nine miles away in Skipton, the branch enables customers to withdraw cash and pay bills while also offering local produce for sale.
Airton postmaster Chris Wildman said: “Our customers are delighted to have the convenience of a brand new Post Office branch under the same roof as our farm shop.
“Prior to the branch opening, people had to travel miles to visit an ATM or bank branch. We’re pleased we can offer our customers the ability to withdraw cash and access a wide range of Post Office services.”