A SCHEME that was trialled in Powys letting people get cash from retailers’ tills without needing to buy anything is to be rolled out to more than 2,000 shops before the end of the year.

Under the scheme, people can withdraw up to £50 in notes and coins in smaller shops or check their balance free of charge.

Cash machine network Link said that, following a successful 12-month pilot, the scheme is already live in around 1,000 locations.

Withdrawals of any amount between 1p and £50 can be made, rather than being restricted to the notes dispensed by ATMs.

During the year-long trial, more than 24,800 transactions were made, with an average withdrawal amount of £27.81.

The initiative originally formed part of the Community Access to Cash Pilots, led by Natalie Ceeney, and was piloted in shops in Hay-on-Wye in Powys as well as at Burslem in Staffordshire and in Cambuslang, South Lanarkshire, and Denny, Stirlingshire, in Scotland.

READ MORE: Community Access to Cash Pilots launched in Hay

Its future was secured beyond the pilots following an amendment to financial services legislation.

People will be able to find their nearest cashback without purchase location using Link’s cash locator and cash locator app.

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Tracey Graham, chair of Link Consumer Council, said: “Protecting access to cash is absolutely vital for millions of people who depend on it.”

Lord Holmes of Richmond, who was behind legislative changes to allow cashback without purchase, said: “I’m delighted to see so many shops are beginning to offer this service. It will help many people who are reliant on cash, who are often at the sharp end of bank branch and ATM closures.

“It will be especially beneficial to high streets or villages that may not be busy enough to have an ATM, but where cash is still important.

“Overall this is good news and inclusive, but we should go further. As more services inevitably go digital, we need to bring people with us. That’s why I think next year we should look at an access to digital review, so everyone can be part of the digital economy.”

Gareth Shaw, Which? head of money, said: “Everyone should have reasonable access to their own money without having to pay, so it’s good to see a cashback scheme rolled out to communities who rely on cash the most.

“Schemes like cashback without purchase have a role to play, but they won’t be enough on their own to plug the gaps in the UK’s fragile cash system. That is why the Government must urgently press ahead with legislation that guarantees consumers can continue to access cash for as long as it is needed.”

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