Paypoint, the payments company, has encouraged businesses to take a more flexible and inclusive approach to payments by offering a range of digital and cash solutions. This comes as a result of various findings and announcements by Age UK: a report found that as society has evolved into a cashless economy, millions of older and more vulnerable people who do not have access to online banking have struggled to get by as they are left with limited options.
Age UK confirmed that 30% of bank branches have closed and thousands of cash machines removed in recent years, leaving many to feel excluded as their means of payment is no longer viable. 2.4 million people aged 65 or over are at risk of societal exclusion due to declining access to cash warn Age UK.
Accelerated during lockdown with the increasing number of card-only and online retailers, the downward trend in access to cash is making life difficult for the elderly and more vulnerable members of the community. PayPoint’s suite of multi-channel solutions is bridging the gap, helping everyone gain access to cash locally, whilst leveraging digital payment tools to ensure they can stay in control of their own finances and tackle the issues raised by Age UK.
Demonstrating the flexibility and convenience of PayPoint’s solutions during the pandemic, its housing association, local authority, government and charity clients have been giving their service users the option of how they receive financial support – whether as a bank transfer or voucher sent by SMS, email or letter, to be exchanged for cash in one of the 28,000 stores in PayPoint’s retail network.
Stores in the network include Sainsburys, Asda, The Co-op, Spar, One-Stop and independent local stores. More than 99% of urban households live within one mile of one of these locations, confirming this as a far more convenient option than a local bank or ATM. Demonstrating the speed at which people can benefit from the service, in 2020, the fastest a PayPoint voucher was presented in store to obtain cash was just over a minute from receiving it digitally.
“For those people who can’t access online banking services or credit cards, cash is a lifeline,” commented Danny Vant, Client Services Director of PayPoint. “PayPoint provides solutions that genuinely empower people to manage their finances, rather than relinquishing independence by relying on others to help them, which also puts them at risk of financial abuse. Our solutions give customers options on how best to manage their payments and repayments, whether they prefer to do this over the phone, online or in cash at a local shop. Flexibility is the key to future-proofing payment and banking solutions for the entire population, to reduce financial exclusion and empower people to be independent.”
Utilising a physical network and the latest digital technology, PayPoint is well-placed to take advantage of the trends that have accelerated over the past year due to covid-19, including the continued shift from cash to digital payments. However, the network still provides strong support for those preferring to use cash for shopping or bill payments – a large group, as Age UK identified – and helps organisations to take a responsible and caring approach to supporting their customers in managing due and overdue payments.
Danny Vant continued; “Our technology and payment infrastructure enables organisations to issue digital or physical vouchers to their customers, enabling those customers to obtain cash payments in any one of our retailers. They can also visit these locations to pay bills in cash, deposit cash into bank accounts, top up pay-as-you-go mobile phones or even send and receive parcels. Our latest digital payment solutions are valuable tools to help companies deliver vital, flexible support for their customers in challenging times and in the longer term, to increase independence across the entire community.”