Cash withdrawals surge expected this weekend as fans prepare for Euro 2020 final

ATM network Link expects nearly £750 million be withdrawn from cash machines this weekend, an increase of 12% compared with a year earlier.

Vicky Shaw
Friday 09 July 2021 17:57
England fans outside Wembley Stadium after England qualified for the Euro 2020 final
England fans outside Wembley Stadium after England qualified for the Euro 2020 final

Cash withdrawals are expected to jump this weekend as football fans prepare for a big night in or to embark on a big night out to watch England’s Euro 2020 clash with Italy

ATM network Link expects nearly £750 million will be withdrawn from cash machines this weekend – an increase of 12% compared with the same period a year earlier.

It said good weather could also help boost withdrawals.

Link expects a balance between people who will watch the European championship final between England and Italy on Sunday night from their homes and those who will be going out to watch the game and will be making cash withdrawals.

A man withdrawing money from an ATM

Graham Mott, director of strategy at Link said: “Typically, Sunday evenings tend to be quiet for ATMs, but we’re expecting almost £750 million to be withdrawn from ATMs this weekend, around 12% up on last year.”

Some people may also be considering putting their spending on plastic.

Comparison website MoneySuperMarket recorded a 6% increase in credit card inquiries on Wednesday July 7, the date that England beat Denmark 2-1 in the semi-finals. The 6% increase was compared with the 2021 daily average.

Giving tips for keeping spending under control this weekend, Jo Thornhill, a money expert at MoneySuperMarket, said: “There’s an expectation that big plans are often costly, so whatever you do, make sure you budget accordingly.

“Consider splitting costs if you’re entertaining, for example, bring a plate, have a beer kitty. Also, think about the costs of getting home if you’re going out.

Win or lose, you don't want to wake up to a financial headache on Monday morning

Jo Thornhill, MoneySuperMaket

“The big match is mid-month in terms of payday, so if you’re planning on investing in plans for the match – be it a big food shop for a home barbecue, travelling to friends or family, or having a night out in the pub, think about how you’ll fund it.

“Set a budget and stick to it. If you’re in your overdraft, don’t exceed your limit without prior agreement. If you’re dipping into spending on your credit card, think about what is essential and worth getting into debt for. It might feel like a once in a lifetime occasion to see England in the final, but win or lose, you don’t want to wake up to a financial headache on Monday morning.”

Nitesh Patel, strategic economist at Yorkshire Building Society, said the lack of opportunities to spend in the past year “could see people keen to let down their hair and open their purse strings”.

He added: “The main winners from this could be the hospitality sector, retailers selling food and drink, and takeaways.”

Nationwide Building Society said it has seen a spike in the number of transactions in pubs and bars on days when England was playing.

On days when the England team have been on TV screens, debit and credit card transactions have typically increased by 28% and 13% respectively, it said, compared with average volumes on any other day during Euro 2020.

Fans watching England versus Denmark

The typical amounts spent on debit and credit cards have also increased on days when England have been playing, compared with other days during the tournament.

The Society said it expects to see similar increases on Sunday.

It is also making sure its ATMs are stocked with cash as it is expecting an increase in withdrawals as people celebrate England playing in the final.

The distraction of the match on Sunday may also lead to fewer people checking their account balances.

Nationwide said activity on its app dropped off as the match kicked off on Wednesday – but returned to normal levels at half-time and full-time.

The Post Office said its branches are preparing to supply cash to football fans looking to buy food and drinks ahead of the big match.

Some 4,000 Post Office branches are open at weekends.

If England score an early goal, people's celebrations might lead to them running out of cash pretty quickly

Postmaster Dipesh Ahir

When England has played crunch football matches at Wembley on a weekday during the tournament, a total of £20.3 million has typically been withdrawn on these match days over the counter from Post Office branches across England.

Postmaster Dipesh Ahir, who runs the Wembley Park Boulevard branch, is planning to operate his branch inside his Newspoint store on Sunday.

He said: “I’m opening especially on Sunday so that those people who prefer to spend cash can get it securely from over the counter.

“Many people prefer cash to help them budget, though I’m sure if England score an early goal, people’s celebrations might lead to them running out of cash pretty quickly.”

Consumer group Which? warned fans against buying tickets from unofficial sources, saying they could lose significant sums if they are turned away at the turnstile.

Adam French, Which? consumer rights expert said: “If you’re not lucky enough to get your hands on a ticket through the official website you might be better off saving your cash and making plans to watch Gareth Southgate and the lads take on Italy with family and friends at home or in the pub.

“If you insist on trying your luck and buying tickets for the match from an unofficial seller, make sure to pay with a credit card for purchases over £100 so you stand a better chance of getting a refund if things go wrong.”