The end of November brings about the chaos that is Black Friday and Cyber Monday - the unofficial starting bell for the Christmas shopping rush, and renowned as the busiest shopping days of the year!

For those of you who don’t know, Black Friday and Cyber Monday – imported from our friends across the pond- falls on the first Friday and Monday in the calendar after Thanksgiving Day in the US. This prompts the yearly outbreak of shopping deals and unmissable discounts that UK retailers have to offer.

Over the course of the ‘Wonder Weekend’, the shopping extravaganza is expected to reach a total of £1.32 billion online, that’s over £21 million per hour! This is an increase of 9% since last year, with total savings throughout the four days predicted to hit around £233 million!

Just another manic Monday for the ‘unbanked’

We partnered up with the Centre for Retail Research to understand the impact of Cyber Monday on underserved and unbanked consumers. Our research predicts that Cyber Monday shoppers will spend a total of £556 million (11.4% more than last year) online, with retailers offering average discounts of 15% to mark this prestigious spending spree. This is double the average online saving offered by retailers throughout the year. In total, these consumers are set to save £98 million on all items purchased – that’s a staggering £6.1 million of savings per working hour!

Unfortunately, these incredible online savings will not be enjoyed by everyone as 2 million unbanked consumers suffer from ‘online exclusion’.

The unbanked have no access to mainstream banking which means they do not have a bank account or any form of plastic in which to enjoy the benefits that Wonder Weekend brings.

These 2 million unbanked consumers could therefore be missing out on a massive £26 million of Christmas shopping discounts on Cyber Monday alone, as most have no means of making payments to online retailers.

Our research also estimates that 4.5 million UK consumers are paid in cash every year as it’s the only way many can receive payments from employers, with the majority of those spending their money in-store.

Our co-founder, Virraj Jatania, believes that this first weekend in December is a great time to pick up bargains online! However, whilst we assume in 2014 that this is an option for all consumers – it really isn’t.

Although we believe every consumer should be able to access the most competitive deals, the 2 million unbanked consumers in the UK are probably some of the people who really need to make savings on their Christmas shopping. Sadly, many of them will not have the option.

Pockit steps in

As well as all their many other uses, prepaid cards are a great way to enable the unbanked to access the best deals and save themselves money through its ability to provide them the luxury of online shopping.

Pockit’s prepaid MasterCard® is all about helping people to manage their money and reward them when they spend. Consumers that use it to shop both online and in-store also enjoy up to 10% cashback with our 35 retail partners (and counting!), that include major high street brands.

The Pockit prepaid MasterCard® is available for just 99p to all consumers regardless of their credit history. With almost two thirds of all Pockit transactions carried out with online retailers, it makes it a great way for the UK’s 2 million unbanked to shop online.

Most importantly, we are tied up with 28,000 PayPoint’s where a Pockit card can be topped up with cash, so that those 4.5 million consumers paid in cash can convert that to electronic money and be able to spend it online.

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From all of us at Pockit…we hope you have a great weekend of shopping!

Victoria Smith-Marketing Team-