Germany’s unemployed will soon be able to collect benefits at checkouts in certain supermarkets and chemists as part of a government bid to cut costs, according to newspaper WELT AM SONNTAG.
Set to kick off in the second quarter of 2018, the change will see machines at job centres previously used to distribute benefits removed with cash handouts distributed in supermarkets instead.
The maintenance of the old machines cost Germany’s Federal Employment Agency (BA) 3.2 million euros in 2016, according to their own data, which amounts to eight euros per transaction.
Around 309 cash machines were available in Germany’s job centres with 400,000 cash transactions worth 120 million euros made at them in the last year.
Using the new system, those collecting money will present a note printed with a barcode to the cashier who will scan it to show the amount of benefits allocated, a transaction that the employment agency said is “uncomplicated, without waiting time.”
The institution said the most important thing for them is that the new process is “non-discriminatory,” so no reference to the jobcentre will be made on the note.
Berlin-based company Cash Payment Solutions won the contract to implement the new system with their brand Barzahlen.de.
The company has a nationwide network with 8,500 branches connected to their solution, including shops like Rewe, Penny, Real, DM and Rossmann, who will all take part in the scheme.
“The procedure is for people who are in need and require cash in the short term,” a BA spokeswoman told WELT AM SONNTAG.
“The goal is the widespread introduction of the new solution by the end of 2018,” she concluded.