Cashback Without Purchase

Wave after wave of bank branch closures

The Independent closed 2021 with the startling claim that “Nearly half of banks’ branches ‘have been lost since 2015 or are set to shut”.1

In the article Which? raised their concerns over bank branch closures:

‘Wave after wave’ of bank branch closures have left many people who depend on them at risk of being cut adrift.


Which? have counted 4,735 branches, equating to 48% of the network analysed, which have already closed or been earmarked for closure since January 2015 and considered the impact these closures would have on a number in our society:

Wave after wave of bank branch closures in recent years have left many people who depend on them for essential banking services – particularly the elderly and vulnerable – at risk of being cut adrift.


Watching closely

Whilst Which? are encouraged by the recent proposals to help secure the future of cash they have stated that they will be watching closely to see if they are preventing further communities from losing cash access and vital banking services.

Recent proposals put forward to help secure the future of cash are very promising, but we will be watching closely to see if they are preventing further communities from losing cash access and vital banking services.


“Cashback Without Purchase” arrives in the UK

One of the recent proposals referred to by Which? is the recently launched ability to obtain cashback without a purchase in shops.

Following a successful 12-month pilot, LINK, the UK’s largest cash machine network, is rolling out “Cashback Without Purchase” across the UK. It is already live in over 1000 locations.

PayPoint is the first of LINK’s Members to provide the service and will soon be offering it at more than 2,000 shops. The ability to offer the service is open to all members of the LINK network.

This initiative means consumers will be able to withdraw cash or check balances in smaller shops without the need to buy an item in-store or pay a fee, providing a valuable new way to access cash on the High Street. 

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

However, its future was secured beyond the pilots following an amendment to Financial Services Bill 2021, which became law earlier this year.

It is great to see LINK and Paypoint taking advantage of the legislative changes we made earlier this year to facilitate cashback without a purchase across the UK. The cashback at the till service stands to make a real difference to local communities by providing access to cash for people that need it, and supporting cash acceptance by local businesses.

John Glen, Economic Secretary to the Treasury

A year long Cashback trial

Consumers using the service can choose to withdraw any amount between 1p and £50 rather than being restricted to notes dispensed by ATMs. 

During a year long trial, more than 24,800 transactions have been made with an average withdrawal size of £27.81. Over £680,000 was obtained during the trial period.

Retailers are remunerated for providing this service by the cardholder’s bank via the LINK Member offering the service.

Exclusive to Payments:Unpacked: Daily Cashback Figures

Following the successful trail “Cashback Without Purchase’ was officially launched on the 1 December 2021 and, exclusive to Payments:Unpacked, we are able to publish the first statistics on the use of the new service.

As at 21st December:

  • 1,356 terminals are offering the live service to consumers in retailers across the UK.
  • The total volume of cash withdrawals was 29,471.
  • The total value of cash withdrawals was £701,767.
  • Average cash withdrawn was £23.81.

Daily transactions, showing growth since launch:


With over 50% of the target terminals across the UK already offering the service just a few weeks after launch and with more transactions completed (Trial: 24,800 vs Live: 29,471) and more cash withdrawn (Trial: £680,000 vs Live: £701,767) the figures for the first few weeks of live operation are already greater than the whole 12 month trial period!

The average amount of cash withdrawn was similar: trial £27.81 and in the first few weeks of the live service: £23.81.

Try “Cashback Without Purchase” for yourself

Using LINK’s Cash Locator and Cash Locator App I easily located my nearest “Cashback Without Purchase” provider.

The LINK locator app showed me that one of the first locations in the UK to offer “Cashback Without Purchase” is The Offie, 16 Maldon Rd, Tiptree near Colchester in Essex.

Passing by The Offie just before the Christmas break I decided to stop by and obtain cash without an accompanying purchase.

As someone who has exclusively paid for things digitally for many years, obtaining cash seemed a bit strange but, in the name of research, it was good to prove that the service actually works.

Congratulations to The Offie in Tiptree for being one of the first places in the UK where you can obtain “Cashback Without Purchase”!

Why not try this new way of acquiring cash yourself – you can find the nearest “Cashback Without Purchase” location using the free LINK’s Cash Locator and Cash Locator App.

ATM Cash Tracker

If the UK’s use of cash is something that interests you then visit Northey Point’s weekly ATM Tracker (link).

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