No ATM? No problem.

PayPoint One terminal

PayPoint is rolling out its Counter Cash service nationally, allowing customers to withdraw up to £50 at the counter free of charge with no purchase necessary – and retailers earn a commission on every transaction.

by Antony Begley

With bank branches closing in droves across Scotland and, indeed, across the rest of the UK, access to cash has become a real problem in many areas. Couple that with the ongoing debacle that is the world of ATMs and we are rapidly entering a world where it can be exceptionally difficult for many communities to simple get their hands on their hard-earned cash.

PayPoint is helping address this with the nationwide rollout of its Counter Cash solution which allows customers to withdraw cash and/or check their bank balance safely and conveniently at a counter at participating convenience stores for free with no purchase necessary. The service is provided through PayPoint’s own terminal, and customers can take out sums from 1p to £50.

Devised specifically to improve access to cash, the nationwide rollout of Counter Cash from 1 November will kick off initially in areas that currently have little or no cash access.

The rollout, however, will have significant benefits for retailers too. Counter Cash is a first-of-its-kind solution in scale and ambition beyond the traditional ATM. Participating retailers in the scheme will gain benefits including:

  • Earning commission on every transaction they process – including withdrawals and balance enquiries
  • Save on banking charges by recycling cash they take in for PayPoint services
  • Offering a vital, high profile service to their local community.

The move follows PayPoint research into the most cash reliant areas of the UK, combined with PayPoint sales data, and looking at cash as an overall percentage of transactions in its network of 28,000 UK stores over the 2020-21 financial year. The survey generated ‘cash reliance scores’ for each area.

Of the 48 UK counties included in the study, 43 had an overall cash reliance score of more than 50%, indicating that the need for cash by millions of people to support day-to-day expenditure is still of major importance across the whole of the UK.

The study also revealed that one in five (21%) people across the UK still use an ATM two to three times a week.

More than two-thirds (67%) of all purchases in PayPoint’s network were made in cash over the period. While 62% of people in Wales and 64% of people in England thought more should be done to protect cash, the figure was highest in Scotland at 67%.

Nick Wiles, Chief Executive of PayPoint, said: “Bank branches and ATMs have been disappearing at an alarming rate over the last few years and the UK’s rapid growth in digital payments, across every corner of the economy, has left millions of people who use cash every day at risk of being left behind.

“Today PayPoint is laying out its long-term commitment to do everything it can to ensure easy, free cash access, working with partners across industry and government, ahead of the official launch of PayPoint Counter Cash on 1 November. The service will not only enable people to make exact withdrawals, down to a single penny, unlike an ATM, but will also be completely free to customers and profitable to the retailers that offer it.

“I’m incredibly proud of the support that PayPoint’s network offers local communities across the UK, and I would like to congratulate our participating Counter Cash retailer partners for providing yet another vital community service.”

Retailer view

Imran Hamid

PayPoint Counter Cash trial participant Imran Hamid of Dennyloanhead said: “Denny is a town where we used to have TSB, a Royal Bank of Scotland, a Bank of Scotland, a Clydesdale Bank and now they’ve all shut. I think it’s just a community thing where we try to help and give back something.

“We’ve also got people who are on benefits here and they want access to their cash. That’s another good thing about this – they can withdraw anything from a penny to £50. If someone on benefits has only got £3.50 left in their bank account and they want that £3.50, I can give it to them and it’s not going to cost them anything.”