THE Post Office is to make it easier for people who are self-isolating to access cash by making two of its products available to all UK banks, building societies and credit unions.
Those who are unable to leave their homes because they are a high coronavirus risk will be able to nominate a trusted person to withdraw cash on from their bank account on their behalf.
The nominated person will be able to collect the money from the local Post Office, rather than at a bank branch.
One of the services, Pay Now, involves the bank sending their self-isolating customers a voucher either by text, email of post.
They can then share it with a trusted person who takes it to the Post Office to be scanned in exchange for cash.
The postal service has been working with the Treasury, the Financial Conduct Authority (FCA) and UK Finance, to expand its existing Pace service that lets some customers request to bank a cheque at the Post Office.
Shops allowed to stay open
ONLY a small group of retailers are allowed to stay open during the lockdown, they include:
- Takeaways and food deliveries
- Health shops
- Medical services – eg, dentists
- Pet shops
- Hardware stores
- Retail shops in hospitals
- Petrol stations
- Bicycle shops
- Laundrettes and dry cleaners
- Banks, building socities
- Short-term loan providers, credit unions and cash points
- Storage and distribtion centres
- Post Offices
- Car rental services and car parks near vital services such as supermarkets
- Public toilets
- Car garages and repair shops
- Food banks and shelters
Now, Fast Pace will allow vulnerable customers to name a trusted person, such as a carer or family member, to cash a pre-authorised cheque at a Post Office branch for them.
For either of the services to work, the bank account holder will need to contact their bank to let them know who will be collecting the cash on their behalf, how much will be withdrawn and at what Post Office branch.
The bank will then let the Post Office know the customer's account details and arrange for the money to be picked up from their local branch.
But while the service has been made available to all banks and building societies they might not necessarily be signed up to it, so you'll need to contact them find out.
Martin Kearsley, banking director at the Post Office, said: "Being able to easily access cash is a vital service for older people and those self-isolating.
"Our Payout Now and Fast Pace services mean they can access cash quickly and securely to repay someone for a helpful service like shopping, or simply manage their finances, providing peace of mind that cash can be securely sourced with the help of any trusted helper."
The Post Office has more than 11,500 branches across the UK – you can find your nearest one here.
While the vast majority of stores remain open, some have has to close at short notice due to staff illnesses or needing to self-isolate.
Some stores have had to reduce their opening hours, while posters and floor makers have also been put up to help customers with social distancing.
Mr Kearsley added that anyone collecting cash on someone else's behalf must remember to practise safe distancing and should consider arranging with the recipient how the cash can be safely handed over – perhaps through a person's letterbox, for example.
Gareth Shaw, Head of Money at Which?, said: "Millions of people rely on cash every day but many will struggle to access their money during the coronavirus crisis.
"Our research has found a third of people, including those aged 65 and over and vulnerable consumers, have concerns about managing their money digitally, so this initiative will ensure those who rely on cash will not be cut off during this difficult time.
"Initiatives like this also highlight how close to collapse the UK's cash network is and further drives home the need for swift action to guarantee access to cash over the long-term."
Source: Read Full Article