FT PayPoint transaction

Following a successful 12-month pilot, Link, the UK’s largest cash machine network, is rolling out cashback without purchase across the UK. It is already live in more than 1,000 locations.

PayPoint is the first of Link’s members to provide the service and will be offering it at more than 2,000 shops before the end of the year. The ability to offer the service is open to all Link members and Link hopes that others will also take up the opportunity as the market develops.

This initiative means consumers will be able to withdraw cash or check balances in smaller shops without the need to buy an item in-store or pay a fee, providing a new way to access cash on the high street.

The initiative originally formed part of the Community Access to Cash Pilots, led by Natalie Ceeney and was piloted in shops across Burslem in Staffordshire (England), Hay-on-Wye in Powys (Wales), Cambuslang in South Lanarkshire (Scotland) and Denny in Stirlingshire (Scotland). However, its future was secured beyond the pilots following an amendment to Financial Services Bill 2021, which became law earlier this year.

Consumers using the service can choose to withdraw any amount between 1p and £50 rather than being restricted to notes dispensed by ATMs. During the year-long trial, more than 24,800 transactions have been made with an average withdrawal size of £27.81. Over £680,000 has been taken out using the channel so far. Retailers are remunerated for providing this service by the cardholder’s bank via the Link member offering the service.

Consumers will be able to find their nearest cashback without purchase location using Link’s Cash Locator and Cash Locator App.

Tracey Graham, chair, Link Consumer Council, commented: “Protecting access to cash is absolutely vital for millions of people who depend on it. Cashback Without Purchase is a convenient new way for people to withdraw notes and coins at their local retailer. The Consumer Council is delighted to see this important service rolled out across the country and will continue to seek innovative ways to support people who rely on cash for as long as it is needed.

John Glen, economic secretary to the Treasury, said: “It is great to see Link and PayPoint taking advantage of the legislative changes we made earlier this year to facilitate cashback without a purchase across the UK. The cashback at the till service stands to make a real difference to local communities by providing access to cash for people that need it, and supporting cash acceptance by local businesses.”

Nick Wiles, chief executive of PayPoint, added: “This expanded roll-out of our Counter Cash service, in partnership with Link, is demonstrative of our mutual, long-term commitment to ensuring that cash access is protected. I look forward to seeing our network of retailer partners around the UK who offer cashback without purchase services expand further in the coming months.”