United Kingdom

Plan for stores to offer cashback without shoppers having to buy

An amendment to the Financial Services Bill, due to be debated tomorrow in the House of Lords, could pave the way for people to get cashback from local retailers without first having to buy something from the shop.

The amendment was put forward last month by Lord Holmes of Richmond.

The peer is a passionate supporter of 'inclusion' in all walks of life, including financial services, and believes that all consumers should have easy access to cash.

Cashback without purchase: If the amendment is accepted by the Government, this could be available nationwide as early as May

If the amendment is accepted by the Government, cashback without purchase could be available nationwide as early as May. 

Before the UK came out of the European Union, regulations set by the EU meant that it was extremely difficult for retailers to offer cashback when customers were not paying for goods or services.

With that barrier now gone, Lord Holmes says it is vital that the Government legislates to allow cashback without a purchase.

He is confident that his amendment will gain approval – especially given that Treasury officials have already talked openly about their desire to roll out cashback without purchase.

The Government sees it as a key component in ensuring people still have access to cash in their local area.

On Friday, Lord Holmes told The Mail on Sunday: 'If cashback without purchase was permitted, it would represent a change for good. It would be great news for communities, small businesses and the high street.

'In particular, it would help those who live in small villages and are currently financially isolated because there is no nearby ATM or bank branch.' 

He added: 'It is critical that we maintain a cash infrastructure in this country while acknowledging that fintech [financial technology] is changing the way many people do their banking. Financial exclusion is something we all need to fight against.

'My amendment, if implemented, will not only have economic but social, psychological and community benefits.'

Cashback without purchase is one measure currently being trialled as part of the eight community access to cash pilot schemes being overseen by Natalie Ceeney.

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