Cashback in pubs / cornershops

(Will Langford) #1

I usually ask pubs for £20/£40 cashback (paying by credit card) on weekends after buying a few drinks, which they almost all seem happy to give - presumably because they get a lot of customers paying with £20 notes which they’ll almost never give back out in change.
This shows up as a single transaction on statements, etc. (unlike if you asked for cashback at a supermarket where it’s split into 2).
However, this week I was out of town in a different city and they told me that they wouldn’t do this as it was illegal/against their agreement/or something similar.
Is this a clever way of avoiding money transfer fees on credit cards/the negative credit rating, or is it against the rules (for either the business, or for me)?


The pub is technically breaking the rules of their agreement with MasterCard/Visa I believe. You are not allowed to use a credit card for cashback. Most merchants will automatically block this when it detects you are using a credit card.

Interestingly I’ve never had a cashback transaction appear as separate transactions :thinking:

(P.S. this is just what I believe to be correct, it might not be).

(Hugh Wells) #3

When you get cash back at a supermarket they identify the amount of cash they have given you in the authorisation request :+1:

Appending £20 to your bar tab and typing it into the terminal doesn’t identify it as cashback (so you can’t be charged for cash advance) which is against the rules :no_mouth:

(If there's the wrong end of a stick, you'll find me holding it.) #4

Reason being, presumably, that you could pay off last month’s credit card bill with the cash you’ve taken out this month. And so have an interest free loan until you decide to pay it off.


That’s interesting. Why does it not show up in our feed then? It is identified in the transaction in RBS for example, although in the details, not as a separate item.

(Hugh Wells) #6

Not sure it’s something that’s ever been asked for!


Huh. If it’s possible it would be a great little feature. :grin:


It would be great. I seldom use an ATM, preferring cashback. It greatly inflates the grocery bill just now. Be ideal if it could be categorised as a cash withdrawal, which of course, it is.

(Hugh Wells) #9

Hmm, splitting the category would be an interesting UX challenge :sweat_smile:


Isn’t everything. :grin:

(Simon) #11

Didn’t think anyone was still doing cashback on credit cards.
It would be quite difficult for MasterCard to notice though as it would just look like a normal transaction.

(Drew sanders) #12

Some pubs I know don’t even ask whether it’s a debit card. I’ve seen cashback given on Amex - I suspect just processed as a card transaction.
I did enquire at one place & the licencee explained they preferred to have less cash in the till?

I tend to use my Monzo at the pub - shocking how much you can spend just having a quick pint.

(Kolok) #13

Processing cash can be expensive/faff so often places will give cashback even on credit cards to get rid of it, pubs don’t want to be stuck with a wad of cash overnight until the bank opens, and cash isn’t usually insured for loss/theft.

(Stephen Early) #14

Our card terminals prompt for cashback if the inserted card supports it, and don’t prompt when the card doesn’t support it. If you try to force cashback by using the menu option for “Purchase With Cashback” and then insert a card that doesn’t support cashback, it fails.

We like giving cashback at the pub because cash is a pain to have around: it needs to be looked after, counted, taken to the bank, and checked regularly in case it starts growing legs.

(Greg) #15

iv worked in retail for over 20 years and it has never been allowed to give cash back on a credit card.
so where you can get it, it is not being identified as cashback. just part of a sale.

(Will Langford) #16

I understand the prompt for cashback on terminals, but I believe what my pub does is just to take £x out of the till and increase the amount the type into the terminal by £x, so it doesn’t matter what card it is

(Stephen Early) #17

Yeah, that works but it’s against the terms of the merchant agreement.


Year ago I worked in a pub and that was the approach. Easier for us to do as we had no special means of handling it.

It didn’t really impact the pub, but we would avoid it for larger than £50 just in case it was something fishy.


Isn’t the merchant charged a percentage of the transaction as a fee? I’m surprised they would want to inflate the amount charged to a credit card any more than necessary.


Doesn’t make sense does it. My local wont accept a card to pay for two pints (min. £10) but will happily add cashback to take it over the £10, then accept a card.