Barclays is rolling out a service enabling people to get cashback from small businesses, including pubs, cafes and independent shops, without having to make a purchase.
Customers of any bank with a Visa or Mastercard debit card will be able to withdraw up to £100 per day, and won’t need to buy anything to do so.
In return, participating businesses will be paid a transaction fee by the bank. Thousands of small businesses around the UK with a Barclaycard Payments terminal are already enabled to offer the service, and Barclays said it will be working with them to promote the service in communities.
Businesses involved may display a sign in their window to alert customers to the service and people will be able to receive coins as cashback, with no lower limit on withdrawals.
It means that customers can take out precise amounts in pounds and pence, which may be helpful to households trying to manage their finances on a tight budget amid the cost of living crisis.
The cashback service may also make it easier for people to spend money in their local community, potentially benefiting businesses.
Tim Allen, head of access to cash at Barclays UK, said: “While an increasing number of our customers choose to pay digitally, we recognise that for some, cash remains vital.
“This service will benefit communities around the country, beyond our customer base, giving them the choice and flexibility to access their money conveniently. This is part of our broader commitment to preserving long-term access to cash for those who require it.”
Keeping cash accessible
The new Barclays service comes as bank branch closures have fuelled concerns about people being able to access their own money.
Various initiatives have been taking place to fill in the gaps, including cashback schemes, such as that being offered by Barclays, “banking hubs” where facilities are shared between banks, and installing ATMs in areas where there is a particular need.
The Post Office also has an agreement with many banks, enabling people to do their everyday banking over its counters. The government has also previously said it will legislate to preserve the future of cash.
Konrad Kelling, head of small business acquiring at Barclaycard Payments, said the new service “empowers our small business customers to provide cash and coins in areas where free cash access may be limited”.
He added: “SMEs (small and medium-sized enterprises) using the service have also seen it create a new income stream and bring in new customers.
“We are working with merchants to help them offer the service and raise awareness of it in their local communities.”
Natalie Ceeney, chair of the Access to Cash Action Group, agreed that the cashback service is “very welcome” as it will help to ensure cash is accessible.
She said: “ATMs work well for most people, but having additional places to withdraw cash, particularly if you want to get out less than £10, can help communities and small businesses as well as vulnerable consumers.
“Making cashback without purchase widely available needs to be a key part of the national strategy to keep cash accessible.”