29th June 2021

Cashback without purchase-Mark Aldred of Auriga comments on availibilty in UK

Mark Aldred comments:

“Starting from today, all consumers will be able to obtain cashback in some shops without having to buy anything. This is another attempt to protect access to cash for everyone, as it remains the preferred method of payment for many. In fact, despite the use of physical money declining, it is still the case that one in five older people rely on cash every day.

Age UK recently observed that millions of older and vulnerable people are cut off from ATMs and banking services and this can result in them falling victim to financial abuse. The charity is therefore calling for a universal service obligation to be put in place to protect communities and individuals being impacted by branch closures and the reduction of banking services. The current situation makes me ask how is it that banks like to repeatedly ask me to go paperless but have never asked if I am ready to go branchless. I am not and neither are millions of others.

It is evident that despite the rise in ATM and bank closures, there still remains an appetite for cash as important parts of the UK economy still heavily rely on it. Access for all communities is critical. Like water it should be considered a vital utility and providers should be obliged to allow easy access to it.

While cashback without purchase may help solve the problem for some, it probably isn’t enough to answer the concerns of many customers.

Banks should consider how innovative self-service banking technology, combined with assisted service and remote service could be used to retain cost effective bank branches. This could serve as a focal point for financial and other community services, and be a shared resource. In this way, legacy banks can be rejuvenated, maintain a bespoke service, meet current demands, and create new revenue streams while also meeting changing customer behaviours and demands. And while the moral duty should be clear, the business case is also compelling.”

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