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Post Office services for bank customers

Last Edit: 09/11/18

While online banking has been lauded for its convenience, many older customers have been alarmed by the scale of bank branch closures -- Which? reported that 2,868 branches have closed between 2015-2016 -- that has left them struggling to access bank services. In response, high street banks have begun providing access to some of their banks services at Post Offices. There is currently over 11,500 Post Office branches across the UK, with many now opening on Sundays.

So, what bank services are available to bank account holders? As you would expect it differs from bank to bank, but Natwest and HSBC (two of the largest high street banks) provide the following four services:

  1. Balance Enquiry: requires a debit card and PIN
  2. Cash Withdrawal: requires a debit card and PIN
  3. Cash Pay-in: requires personal preprinted paying-in slip and sometimes a debit card
  4. Cheque Pay-in: requires personal preprinted paying-in slip and branded Post Office deposit envelope.

The four services listed above are typically available for current account holders and business account holders; they may not be available for savings accounts and ISAs.

It should be noted that cash and cheque pay-ins, via the Post Office, will typically take two days longer than they would if they made in a bank branch. Why, you may ask? That's the time it takes for the bank to receive the cash or cheque, plus pay-in slip, from the Post Office. Any cheques that are paid in will then follow the normal cheque clearing cycle -- the paper cheque clearing system can take 6 days, but the new cheque imaging clearing system can take 2 days. Banks, such as Natwest, also warn that it is possible for cash pay-ins to take longer than 2 days to arrive from the Post Office. Therefore, if a pay-in is urgent, it will require a customer to travel that bit further to their nearest branch.

One question that is often posed about banking at the Post Office: Are there additional charges/fees to banking at the Post Office? Some banks do not clearly answer this question, however, Natwest do, and according to them, none of their personal current account holders will be charged for carrying out transactions at the Post Office. Business bank account holders will incur the same charges as when they bank at a Natwest branch. Whether this is the case with other banks, I have been unable to verify.

Charges: answer to a question at the Natwest website
(Pictured: answer to a question at the Natwest website)

Currently, the following banks provide all four Post Office banking services listed above (source: postoffice.co.uk/branch-banking-services) for their current accounts: Allied Irish Bank (GB), Bank of Ireland (UK), Bank of Scotland, Barclays, Cahoot, Clydesdale, Danske Bank, First Direct, First Trust Bank, Halifax, HSBC, Lloyds Bank, NatWest, Santander, Smile, The Co-operative Bank, The Royal Bank of Scotland, Thinkmoney, and the Ulster Bank. The following banks provides some of the Post Office banking listed above, but not all, for their current accounts: CAF, Handelsbanken, Metro Bank, and Virgin Money.