Chris Wildman, Postmaster for Airton Post Office branch serving a customer cash. Photo: Post Office

More than 28 million people intend to visit one of the Post Office’s 11,500 branches during the festive period, a new study finds.

The research from the Post Office also reveals that cash will be in much demand this season with 45 percent of people say they are likely to give cash as a Christmas gift.

In addition, six in ten people (59%) across the UK are likely to use cash instead of card when purchasing gifts, treats or socialising this Christmas. This number rises to 66 percent in rural areas.

Research finds that among those who intend to visit a branch 20 percent intend to withdraw cash and 7 percent to deposit. People living in rural areas are most likely to visit to withdraw cash (30%).

More than two thirds (69%) who intend to visit will post Christmas cards and gifts and a further 22 percent intend to visit to collect or return online shopping.

“Millions of customers of UK banks can rely on our branches for easy access to cash in the run-up to Christmas. Many branches are open longer hours and 4,000 are open seven days a week,” said Martin Kearsley, Banking Services Director at the Post Office.

Airton Post Office, based in Town End Farm Shop, Malhamdale, is one such shop readying to play a key role in ensuring easy access to cash in the community.

This will be its first Christmas since Post Office services have begun in October.

“Our customers are delighted to have the convenience of a brand new Post Office branch under the same roof as our farm shop. Prior to the branch opening people had to travel miles to visit an ATM or bank branch,” said Chris Wildman, the Postmaster for Airton branch.

“We’re pleased we can offer our customers the ability to withdraw cash and access a wide-range of Post Office services.”

Post Office has recently announced a new agreement with 28 UK banks, allowing bank customers to withdraw cash at PO branches.

“With 6000 branches in rural areas, customers of UK banks have grown to rely on our everyday banking services,” Kearsley added.