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Strange stats

March 18, 2011

So – apparently the average withdrawal from a cash machine owned by a bank or a building society is £67 (source: BBC, Link, Bank of England, and Barclays)

£67?

How on earth did they come up with that number?  I’d like to see this cash machine that gives out pound coins!

Wouldn’t it have made more sense as a figure to have a number that could be withdrawn?

Maybe using the median, or even the mode of the data set?

In fact, I’d be much more interested in the mode.  I have a hunch that it would probably be somewhere more around the £20 / £30 mark.

(This sage fact was contained within an equally nonsensical statement:

“After all, the average withdrawal from a bank or building society’s cash machine is £67 – which would soon drain an ATM if it only dispensed £5 notes.”

At what point was the article advocating cash machines that only dispense £5 notes.  It would be drained pretty fast if it only dispensed tenners as well.  There’s a reason they have £20’s in too…?)

Facts are brilliant, but this has reminded me that it is a good idea to make sure that they make sense in the context of what you are saying as well.  And that sometime you need to think a little more carefully about what you are trying to say in the first place.

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