Christmas usually goes by in a whirl of wrapping paper, turkey and feel-good TV, but it seems that even the joys of the festive season aren't enough to distract us from our finances. Indeed, new research from Halifax shows that more than a few of us were keen to keep an eye on our balances in the midst of the festive fun.
Halifax's data reveals that, between Christmas Eve and Boxing Day, a whopping 1,984,705 customers logged on a total of 4,463,870 tims, the largest ever volume of online logons over the festive period.
This shows that millions of people took time out from the festivities to check their current account on Christmas Day, and many will have been logging on using devices they received as gifts from loved ones - tablets, new phones and related gadgets are prime gifting choices, and as such, 33,052 logons came from tablets and devices that hadn't previously accessed the bank's online service.
Interestingly, many banking customers did more than take a cursory look at their balance – last year, the bank found that 87,000 customers had made a payment via online banking on Christmas Day alone, while another 60,000 transferred some money to another account. This year, a particularly notable finding is the rise in mobile person-to-person payments.
Halifax recorded 28,823 person-to-person payments between midnight and midday on 25 December, a rise of 5.84% on 2015, with the bank surmising that many of this could have been last minute gifts. Given that such payments are so easy these days, it's little wonder so many are getting in on the action.
Even a simple balance check could be indicative of a wider trend: last year, the bank found that the busiest times for logging in to online banking were between 11am and 12pm, and 9pm to 10pm. The morning was particularly popular for moving money around, while the evening saw more customers logging on to take a look at how much money they had in their account. This suggests that the evening checks were made in order to plan Boxing Day sales spending, giving them an idea of how much they could splurge!
"The convenience of being able to check accounts and send money online through a device that's nearly always on, allows customers to manage their finances in unconventional ways and at unconventional times, including the festive period," commented Nick Williams of Halifax. "The sheer amount of logons we saw over Christmas really highlights how important it is for people to stay on top of their money and remain connected at what is traditionally an expensive and demanding time of year."
And why not? Online banking is fast, easy and accessible, so it's no wonder so many people took advantage to make sure that their finances were in gear for the sales.
If you haven't yet enjoyed the flexibility of online banking, perhaps it's time you jumped on the bandwagon! If your current bank provider doesn't yet have an online facility, search around for one who does. You can check out our best buys for inspiration. Remember, the Current Account Switch Service Guarantee means that your account can be transferred in just seven days, so it may not be as much of a hassle as you think.
Disclaimer: Information is correct as of the date of publication (shown at the top of this article). Any products featured may be withdrawn by their provider or changed at any time.
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