Cash machine usage is expected to peak between noon and 1pm on Friday 22 December as customers withdraw cash before Christmas Day.
Santander estimates that £10 million will be withdrawn from the UK’s cash machines in a single hour on Friday, based on usage in previous years.
Many people will be withdrawing cash to give as gifts on Christmas Day itself while others will be taking out money to spend over the weekend.
While the most popular way to pay for Christmas presents and food is by debit card, cash remains the preferred method of payment at Christmas markets and in pubs and bars.
But more than a quarter of people (28%) say they now use less cash than they did a year ago.
No matter what method of payment, 70% of people say they will be monitoring their expenditure over Christmas with 33% checking their bank balance regularly using online banking and apps.
However, Santander is urging all consumers to remain vigilant as scammers will be targeting cash machines over the festive period. Its research shows that 38% of people fail to shield the number pad when entering their PIN, leaving them vulnerable to fraud.
Matt Hall, head of banking and unsecured credit at Santander, says: “It’s tempting to splash the cash in the run up to Christmas, especially if you are buying things at the last minute.
“But remember, if you’re planning a last-minute dash to the cashpoint, keep your money and details safe. Busy cashpoints can mean rich pickings for criminals.”