A new agreement means more rural residents will be able to bank at their local post office.
The deal bring together the Post Office’s existing arrangements with individual banks into a single set of cash and cheque services. The latest agreement covers customers of virtually all UK banks. It means 99% of personal bank customers and over 75% of business customers can now do their day-to-day banking at the Post Office. Card-based transactions will enable real-time credit and debit payments into customer accounts, says the Post Office.
The move is seen as a boost for bank customers in villages and rural areas where there is a post office counter but no local bank branch. Last year, the Post Office carried out 110 million banking transactions across its network – an average of over 200 a minute and a 5%t increase from the previous year.
This is set to increase even further, as the new simplified service will offer access to day-to-day banking for both personal and business customers.
It will offer cash withdrawals, cash and cheque deposits and balance enquiries. Customers will also benefit from longer opening hours and over 4000 branches open on Sundays. The Post Office's 11,600 branches are seen as some of the most accessible places for handling financial transactions, particularly in remote areas. Customers have the opportunity to access cash and basic banking services whenever and wherever they need, providing a vital stimulus for local businesses.
The Post Office has worked closely with all the UK banks since March 2015 to assist them in fulfilling their ‘continued access’ commitment to government. By making sure alternative counter-based banking services are accessible through the Post Office, the impact of local branch closures on communities can be minimised.
Nick Kennett, chief executive of Post Office Financial Services said: “This is great news for both personal and business customers of our partner banks.” Mr Kennett added: “When people can get cash locally, they spend it there too. Access to cash plays a vital role in many local communities, acting as the lifeblood to consumers and small businesses.”
Business Minister Margot James described the agreement as the biggest expansion in branch banking services in a generation that would benefit millions of people. “I am delighted the network is able to offer these services to so many customers".