PayPoint calls for COVID stimulus schemes to be financially inclusive
Following confirmation that adults in Northern Ireland will be able to apply for a £100 pre-paid card to spend at high streets across the country at the end of summer 2021, digital payments expert PayPoint is stressing the importance of flexible payout options that benefit all businesses and consumers alike.
During the height of the COVID-19 restrictions, Free School Meals and Winter Hardship Fund vouchers provided invaluable relief for many, but they were also found to be inaccessible or inconvenient for many of the most financially vulnerable.
Danny Vant, Client Services Director of PayPoint explained: “The High Street Stimulus (HSS) and Holiday at Home Voucher schemes announced by Northern Ireland’s Economy Minister, Diane Dodds, are an extremely positive move and will be an important boost for the economy. However, while preparing for the launch of the scheme, governments and local authorities must remember the lessons we learnt earlier in the pandemic.
“The voucher solutions for school meals and winter support worked for many families, but how and where the vouchers could be redeemed meant that many others were excluded, inconvenienced or limited. Offering flexible payment solutions such as PayPoint’s Cash Out means families can choose the best option for them, whether that is a bank transfer, supermarket eGift voucher or cash to spend in a smaller, more convenient local shop.
“The HSS scheme to be introduced in Northern Ireland is aimed to support ‘bricks and mortar’ retailers and hospitality outlets, however, it must be remembered that much of its population live in remote areas and do not have easy access to high streets. And many of its financially vulnerable will not have the fiscal means to book holidays or enjoy gym memberships, despite government aid. Any scheme introduced must be financially inclusive.”
PayPoint’s Cash-Out solution works in real-time to seamlessly enable eligible families to receive vouchers via email, letter or SMS to be presented to obtain a cash payment. There are 28,000 retailers across the UK providing access to PayPoint Cash Out and more than 99% of urban households live within 1 mile of one of these locations. Demonstrating the speed at which people can benefit from the service, a PayPoint Cash Out voucher was recorded as having been presented to obtain cash just over a minute from receipt.
Danny Vant concludes: “Crucially, local authorities do not need to invest in any development to facilitate Cash Out, it requires minimal setup and delivers a real-time payment solution. We are committed to helping all families and businesses gain access to the financial support they need and with Cash Out, local authorities can broaden their range of pay-out solutions to meet the needs of everyone.”