Brits will be able to get cashback from shops without needing to buy anything under new proposals to protect the UK’s cash system announced 15 October 2020.
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.
The government is also considering giving the FCA overall responsibility for maintaining a well-functioning retail cash system given its existing regulatory role and consumer protection objective.
At present, The Bank of England, the Financial Conduct Authority, the Payment Systems Regulator and HM Treasury each have specific roles and responsibilities for oversight of the cash system. Close coordination between these authorities has been highly effective, particularly in managing risks to cash through COVID-19, but there may be significant benefits to giving a single authority overall responsibility for setting requirements to meet the cash needs of consumers and SMEs.
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