Stores will offer cash back rewards without consumers needing to make a purchase, as part of Treasury proposals to protect people’s access to cash.
In 2019, consumers received £ 3.8 billion in cash when paying for items at a cash register, making it the second most popular way to withdraw money behind ATMs.
The Treasury said EU regulations made it difficult for retailers to offer cash back when people weren’t paying for goods or services, which had been a barrier to wider deployment.
He said the government is considering changing the rules after the Brexit transition period ends on December 31, allowing more companies to offer liquidity.
The coronavirus crisis has accelerated the transition of UK consumers to card payments and away from bills and coins, and the contactless card payment limit has been increased to £ 45.
Some hotel companies have stopped accepting cash altogether while others have removed minimum plastic spending. At the same time, banks continued to announce branch closures, leaving fewer options for those looking to manage their cash flow.
In September, £ 6.9bn was withdrawn from ATMs operated by the Link network, up from £ 9.3bn a year earlier and £ 10.3bn in September 2018.
Charities have said abandoning cash is a problem for vulnerable people, and this summer a task force launched community access to cash pilots to experiment with different ways to keep cash. money in circulation.
The Treasury has said it wants to make sure no one is left behind in the move to digital payments.
John Glen, Economic Secretary to the Treasury, said: “We know that cash is always very important to consumers and businesses – that’s why we pledged to legislate to protect access for all who have it. need. We want to harness the same creative thinking that has led to innovation in digital payments to maintain the UK’s cash system and make sure people can easily access cash in their area.
The government’s proposals, which are open for a six-week consultation, also include giving the Financial Conduct Authority, the city’s watchdog, the responsibility of overseeing the treasury system, rather than the current mix of organizations. , notably the Treasury and the Bank of England.
Natalie Ceeney, president of the Cash Pilot Access community, said it was critical that government and other groups commit to keeping cash viable.
“It’s more and more urgent,” she said. “Last year we warned that the UK was becoming sleepwalker in a cashless society. Covid-19 has put even greater pressure on the entire system. “