How to access money with your smartphone using cardless cashpoints

Use your phone to withdraw money from cashpoints when you don't have your debit card.

Some of the top banks have found a way to make accessing your cash even easier. With secure apps installed on your mobile phone, you can access your digital wallet to withdraw the money from a cashpoint. Your phone is already at your fingertips – now your cash will be too.

What are cardless cashpoints and how do they work?

Cardless cash works by providing you with a unique code that you enter into a cash machine to withdraw money when you don’t have your card.

This is beneficial if you don’t want to carry a card when you’re out, for instance if you’re on a run or at the beach – or if you’ve forgotten to take your card out with you. You can even share your code with friends or family members so they can withdraw money when you’re not there.

What banks offer cardless cashpoints?

At the moment only a handful of banks in the UK offer this option, including Barclays, NatWest and Royal Bank of Scotland.

If you have a Barclays account and the Barclays app, you can use it to take out cash when you don’t have your card but need money. You can take out up to £300 a day from a cashpoint, or up to £800 a day if you’re a Premier customer.

NatWest customers with an app can use its Get cash function to withdraw up to £130 every 24 hours. Royal Bank of Scotland customers in Scotland can do the same.

IssuerOffers cardless cash
BarclaysBarclays Read our review
NatWestNatWest Read our review
Royal Bank of ScotlandRoyal Bank of Scotland Read our review

Can you catch COVID-19 from handling cash?

There’s no evidence suggesting you can catch COVID-19 from handling cash, though of course it’s a good idea to wash your hands after you’ve dealt with money to keep up hygiene that can slow the spread of this disease. If you’re concerned about withdrawing cash from a cashpoint, consider a cardless cashpoint to minimise contact with the machine.

Cardless app-generated codes vs NFC

There are two ways your phone may connect with a cardless cashpoint: through app-generated codes or near-field communication (NFC).

App-generated codes are typically QR codes, although they can be a series of numbers. If your cashpoint uses this type of technology, you request a withdraw in your mobile app and then scan or enter the code once you get to the cashpoint. Then, the cashpoint verifies your identity and authenticates your transaction.

Some cashpoints use NFC to conduct cardless transactions. With this type of cardless cashpoint, you tap your phone against the cashpoint’s contactless symbol and your phone’s digital wallet pulls up. From there, you select which card you want to use from your wallet and enter your PIN. Then, the cashpoint authenticates your transaction.

What are the benefits of using cardless cash?

  • The convenience of travelling light. With cardless cash, you can travel light when the occasion calls for it.
  • In cases of emergencies. You can continue to access your cash even if you’ve left your wallet at home.
  • You can share it with your trusted family and friends. This makes it easier to give family members limited access to the account when they need it. Rather than paying for extra debit cards or worrying about how much they withdraw, you can control their spending by using the app.
  • No additional costs for using it. The app works the same as a debit card when withdrawing money. As long as you’re using cashpoints in your bank’s network, you shouldn’t be charged any additional fees.
  • Increased security. In some ways, the app provides more security as the code is for one use only, rather than a debit card which prompts you for the same code each time you use it.

What are the drawbacks of using cardless cash?

  • Only at select banks. Right now, only select banks in the UK offer this feature with their accounts, limiting your choices when making comparisons, but others will probably follow soon.
  • Relies on cashpoint’s network. If the cashpoint network is down, you won’t be able to use the code to withdraw money until it’s up and running again.
  • Cardless cashpoint fraud. If someone gets hold of your bank’s login details and PIN, they can connect your account to their phone and withdraw money without needing your physical debit card.

Security tips when using cardless cash

With any product or device that provides access to your money, either on or offline, you need to be careful about its security. To best protect your money when using cardless cash, avoid the following:

  • Protect your online banking details

Never share the password to your online bank account. With the password, people could gain access to your cardless cash details and make withdrawals without your consent.

  • Monitor suspicious transactions on your account

Although banks take precautions to protect your information, there is always the possibility of a hack. If you notice unauthorised withdrawals from your account using cardless cash, notify the bank immediately.

The bottom line

If you’re a customer with one of the handful of banks that offer the option to withdraw cash from ATMs without a credit or debit card, it can be a nifty way to get your hands on cash quickly in emergencies.

Right now only Barclays, NatWest and RBS customers are able to use this feature, so if you don’t bank with any of these three providers, then you won’t be able to take advantage.

As long as nobody else can get hold of your bank’s login details and PIN, cardless cashpoint withdrawal can be a very convenient way to get hold of money in emergencies.

Common questions about cardless cashpoints

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