Deal Renewed for Banking Customers to Use Post Office Branches

Customers of the UK’s biggest banks and building societies will be able to continue to use Post Office counters to pay in and withdraw cash, after an important arrangement was renewed.

Following months of negotiations, the Post Office has announced that it will continue to offer basic banking services to most UK bank customers for a further three years. Had the negotiations failed, it would have left millions of people without reasonable access to cash withdrawals.

The service, described as a “lifeline” for the millions of people and small businesses that rely on cash, allows customers at 30 banks and building societies to deposit cheques/cash at Post Office counters. The new agreement will see this remain until at least the end of 2025.

The new deal, which covers three years from next January, is seen as key in securing the future acceptance of cash. Almost 98% of the population live within three miles of a Post Office, which tend to have longer opening hours than banks, with about 4,000 open at weekends.

In December, the consumer group Which? claimed that almost half of the UK’s bank branches had been lost, or scheduled for closure, since 2015. The closures have left a number of towns without a functioning bank. Many smaller communities have lost access to free-to-use ATMs.

More than £3bn a month of cash is deposited and withdrawn every month from the Post Office’s 11,500 branches.

Nick Read, chief executive at the Post Office, said: “This agreement provides a continued lifeline to the millions of people and small businesses that rely on cash nationwide. It highlights the unique and vital role that the country’s Post Offices play in local communities and economies.

“While banks are cutting their branch networks, Post Offices are seeing more and more deposits and withdrawals with Postmasters keeping their branches open long hours and helping to draw people to our high streets.”

The online bank Monzo is the only big-name UK bank not to sign up to the initiative. The branchless bank allows customers to deposit cash using Paypoint, which is available in over 28,000 convenience stores.

Last October, Lloyds Banking Group said it would close 41 Lloyds Bank and seven Halifax branches across England and Wales between January and April 2022. That came on top of 100 closures earlier in the year.

Several weeks later TSB announced it was closing 70 branches – a quarter of its network, meaning it had more than halved the number of outlets it had over less than two years.

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Deal renewed for banking customers to use Post Office branches