Community-owned shops across the UK will see their bottom lines balloon after the Plunkett Foundation secured a deal to use a new card processing service which will offer them greatly reduced transaction rates.

Using the social enterprise company Ethecol Merchant Services could save each of the UK’s 255 community owned shops around £1,300 a year, the Plunkett Foundation estimates.

“Ethecol works with the Allied Irish Bank who will pay commission to the Plunkett Foundation, who will then reinvest that commission into further benefits for members of the Community Shop Network. Ethecol’s running costs are covered by the commission we receive when each retailer buys or leases their chip and pin terminal,” explained Ethecol co founder Robert Ashton.

“Community run shops are often quite small and traditional card processors charge prohibitive rates. Ethecol offers a service solely to social enterprises and charges about half the rate of high street banks," he added.

“A viable card service is imperative for community shops because people spend more when paying by card, people walk out of shops that don’t accept cards and cheques are hard work and they may soon disappear.”