Around half of internet and mobile banking users are likely to break off from their Christmas Day celebrations at some point to check their finances, research from Britain’s biggest building society suggests.

Figures from Nationwide Building Society Current Accounts show that last year, 46% of its internet and mobile bank customers logged in to check their finances on Christmas Day.

With many people receiving money for Christmas and the growth of internet shopping meaning many retailers now start their online sales on December 25, people are now increasingly inclined to keep an eye on their finances on the big day itself, the Society suggested.

Nationwide said that around 366,000 customers checked their account on December 25 2014, with the majority (70%) logging in from their mobile device rather than from a laptop or computer. This is a 52% uplift compared with Christmas Day in 2013, when 240,000 people logged into their accounts.

Despite the sharp growth in internet banking on Christmas Day, many people had logged off last year in time for the Queen’s traditional Christmas message.

Nationwide said that just 3,600 people were logged in at 3pm – marking a daytime low. It said the number of people logging in at 3pm has remained broadly the same in recent years at around 3,000.

Phil Smith, Nationwide’s head of current accounts, said: “Over the last few years many retailers have started their sales online on Christmas Day, so it’s perhaps no surprise that customers looking to take advantage of the bargains on offer are logging on to check their balances first.

“However, the tradition of sitting down with the family in time for the Queen seems to be going strong as the numbers logged in at 3pm drops to a daytime low.”

New Year’s Eve last year was even busier than Christmas Day for online banking, with around 975,000 people using Nationwide’s internet and mobile banks as revellers checked their budgets for their party plans.

As the nation celebrated the start of 2015, just over 3,000 Nationwide customers were logged in at midnight on New Year’s Eve.

A further 788,000 people logged in on New Year’s Day as customers totted up the cost of the night before.

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