Cash withdrawals rose in December‚ according to the Spark Cash Index (SCI) which measures the average value of cash withdrawals across more than 2‚000 ATMs in SA.

The index rose 5.99% year on year to R485.07 in December from R457.67 in the same month in 2011. Spark said this indicated that consumer spending was more robust at the end of 2012.

Spark ATM Systems sales director Russel Berman said the December 2012 value of R485.07 was the highest average withdrawal value recorded by the SCI to date.

The month-on-month growth of 9.57% was the second highest growth ever recorded.

“A combination of higher salaries‚ year-end bonus payouts and lower debt services costs most likely contributed to the notable increase in ATM withdrawal activity over the 2012 festive period‚” Berman said.

Cash withdrawals at leisure and hospitality sites rose significantly‚ indicating that the local tourism industry benefited from the recent festive season spending boom.

“It is interesting that the Eastern Cape (R520.71)‚ Mpumalanga (R512.61) and KwaZulu-Natal (R508.87) provinces recorded the top three average cash withdrawal values across the country‚ suggesting that these were the most popular holiday destinations for South Africans this December‚” Berman said.

Wholesale locations recorded the highest average cash withdrawal value of all sites (R509.51)‚ as well as the largest month-on-month and year-on-year increases of 11.66% and 18.44% respectively.

A drop in ATM withdrawals is expected across the country for January due to this month traditionally being a low spending month. - I-Net Bridge