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Debit card spending jumps as England prepares for lockdown 2.0, figures show

Vicky Shaw, PA Personal Finance Correspondent
·2-min read

People’s debit card spending has jumped as England prepares for a second national lockdown from Thursday, figures from Britain’s biggest building society show.

Nationwide Building Society’s debit card figures show that November 1 and 2 were the busiest Sunday and Monday shopping days by volume this year so far.

The second national lockdown in England was confirmed on Saturday October 31.

As people prepared for lockdown and perhaps also started stocking up for Christmas, Nationwide’s members made five million transactions on Sunday – up 13% when compared with an average Sunday this year.

They also made nearly 5.7 million transactions on Monday, which was up by 11% when compared with a typical Monday in 2020.

Nationwide said Tuesday this week was also busy, with its customers making nearly 5.7 million transactions – up 9% when compared to an average Tuesday this year.

Around a million more transactions have been taking place per day in recent days, when compared with a year earlier.

Mark Nalder, head of payments at Nationwide Building Society, said: “The nation has increased spending to the highest level this year across a number of areas in recent days, including supermarkets, retail stores plus bars and restaurants.

“The reasons behind this are no doubt due to the impending second lockdown forcing many people to shop while they still can, particularly with Christmas being just round the corner.

“In recent weeks spend has steadily increased and stabilised after the first lockdown and we fully expect in-store spend to dramatically drop in the coming days as people heed the warnings to stay at home.

“However, while we expect online spend to increase in the next few weeks, it will not offset the income retailers would have earnt had shops been open.”

Nationwide’s figures were released after ATM network Link said earlier this week that cash machine withdrawals had jumped in recent days.

Link said more than £174 million was withdrawn from ATMs on Sunday, making it the second busiest Sunday since March 15.

On Monday, £238 million was withdrawn, making it the busiest Monday since March 16. The next busiest since then was August 3, Link said.