The government has announced plans to allow customers to get cashback from shops without needing to make a purchase. At the moment, cashback is only available to those who buy goods. The new proposals have been put in place to help protect the UK’s cash system following a steady decline in the use of cash. This process has accelerated significantly during the coronavirus pandemic.
Under the government proposals, cashback without a purchase could be widely available from retailers of all sizes in local communities across the UK.
Although cash use is declining, with people increasingly choosing cards, mobile and e-wallets to make payments, it remains crucial for at risk groups across the UK – including the elderly and vulnerable. Many find that cash is more accessible than digital payment methods or that it helps them to budget and manage their finances.
Current EU law makes it difficult for businesses to offer cashback when people are not paying for goods and this has been a barrier to widespread adoption. The government is now considering scrapping these rules once the transition period ends on 31 December 2020.
It is not clear what impact such a move would have on retailers who could face additional costs and administrative issues dealing with providing cashback with no clear benefit for them.
The government has also said that it is considering giving the FCA overall responsibility for maintaining a well-functioning retail cash system given its existing regulatory role and consumer protection objective.