A new resource to expand cash access in the U.K. is being launched by Mastercard, the company said in a press release on Thursday (Sept. 12).
U.K. stores and businesses can earn a fee when they offer customers cashback when making a purchase. The cashback incentive starts in April 2020 and is intended to provide an additional income stream for businesses while also increasing consumers’ access to cash.
All of Mastercard’s issuing partners will participate in this new cashback initiative, including Clydesdale Bank, Metro Bank, Monzo, N26, Starling Bank, Virgin Money and Yorkshire Bank. Santander will join later this year.
“As an industry, we have committed to finding sustainable ways to maintain people’s access to cash. By leading this new cashback initiative, we aim to encourage more shops to offer their customers the option of cash back at the point of sale,” said Mark Barnett, president of Mastercard in the U.K., Ireland, Nordics and Baltics. “This enhancement to retailer cashback isn’t a replacement for ATMs, but if we can add to the number of outlets where people can access cash, especially in areas without an ATM, it will be a valuable addition to the community for both consumers and local businesses.”
Cash usage in the U.K. declined by 16 percent between 2017 and 2018, UK Finance numbers show.
“This is a very positive and welcome initiative from Mastercard. Supporting local shops to offer cashback will help maintain access to cash, and benefit retailers and consumers alike,” said Natalie Ceeney, chair of the Access to Cash Review. “I’m delighted that Mastercard has taken this step.”
Shops and businesses already offering cashback with purchase don’t need to do anything in order to join the program. Mastercard will work with their payments platform to collect the new fee on their behalf.
Although digital purchases and payments have become prevalent, cash is still a major player and largely preferred in many countries.