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Shops to earn by giving you money in new cashback trial

SHOPS are to be paid to offer cashback in an effort to make it easier for people to get hold of physical money as bank branches and cashpoints vanish.

The scheme is being funded by Lloyds Banking Group but retailers will still receive the fee if they provide cash to customers of rival lenders.

Launched in partnership with Visa, the initiative is to be tested in a small number of shops and people will have to buy something in order to get cashback.

But Lloyds says it could be extended to more than 50,000 stores and expects that the requirement to make a purchase will soon be dropped.

The group’s retail director Vim Maru said: ‘Our new cashback pilot aims to increase the number of places where people can withdraw their money, particularly in those areas under-served by free-to-use ATMs.’

Lloyds hopes the scheme will lead to more people visiting shops, such as newsagents and small convenience stores, at a tough time for high streets.

It will target rural and less affluent areas where cashpoints are hard to find. The size of the fees paid is yet to be set.

Jeni Mundy, of Visa, said: ‘Although digital payments continue to grow in popularity, many people still rely on cash to manage day-to-day expenditure.’

Consumer group Which? said the scheme was welcome but it wanted to see more detail about how it would work.

Microsoft booting up flagship store in UK

MICROSOFT is set to launch its first European store in London. The company’s careers website is advertising for a number of roles, including retail advisers, an education specialist and an expert in cloud technology. It has hired about 100 full and part-time staff, according to The Telegraph. Four shops will separate the Microsoft store from its rival Apple’s main outlet on Regent Street. Microsoft UK boss Cindy Rose said: ‘We couldn’t be happier to be opening a flagship store in the heart of central London.’

BUSINESS BITES

■ CAR finance costs have rocketed since the EU referendum, leaving drivers out of pocket by up to £98 a month, Parkers research reveals. The falling pound has had an impact as many cars come from Europe.

■ VEGAN sausage rolls have helped bakery chain Greggs lift its profit outlook for this year after a surge in customers. It comes after it said pre-tax profits for 2018 were set to be at least £88million.

■ FIRST-TIME buyers reached a 12-year high in 2018 as 370,000 people got on the property ladder, UK Finance figures show. Good deals, Help To Buy and loans from parents were the reason. The average first-timer is 30.

■ HSBC’S pre-tax profits missed forecasts by £1.1billion — despite a 16 per cent rise to £15.4billion last year. The banking giant cited ‘challenging market conditions’, including the US-China trade dispute and Brexit.

■ FIRSTGROUP says rail revenue growth slowed to 4.2 per cent between September and last month as passengers on its South Western Railway franchise endured strikes over guards and ‘operating incidents’.