Shops could soon offer free cashback to customers who don’t buy something as part of efforts to protect access to cash for everyone
Shops could soon offer free cashback to customers who don’t buy something as part of efforts to protect access to cash for everyone.
The new Government proposal comes amid fears Britain is sleepwalking into a cashless society.
The Mail on Sunday has long campaigned for the presence of a bank and free-to-use ATM in every town. A lack of access to cash hits two million Britons who still rely on coins and notes – with the elderly, disabled and those in rural areas most affected. Even so, five bank branches have closed on average every month for the past five years.
Proposal: Free cashback at shops could also improve local cash ‘recycling’ – keeping the same coins and notes in circulation in an area
Free cashback at shops could also improve local cash ‘recycling’ – keeping the same coins and notes in circulation in an area and reducing the costs of transporting and redistributing them via cash centres.
The Government is seeking views on the proposal. But it says that current EU regulations prohibit cashback without a purchase, so it would not be possible before the end of the Brexit transition period on December 31.
The proposal comes as the amount of cash deposited at Post Office branches rose above pre-lockdown levels for the first time this year. Deposits rose to £2billion in September, up by 7.7 per cent on the same month last year. Martin Kearsley, director of banking at Post Office, says an uptick in cash withdrawals ‘helps small businesses and local high streets as we know where cash is taken out locally it tends to be spent locally too’.
The Government consultation runs alongside a separate Community Access To Cash Pilot initiative, which is trialling solutions to improve access to cash in the UK.