HSBC current account holders will soon be able to make cash deposits and check balances at the Post Office
HSBC has announced a link-up with the Post Office that means the bank’s customers will be able to access their current accounts at post office counters.
From spring next year all nine million HSBC and First Direct personal current account holders will join the 80% of UK debit cardholders who can already make free cash withdrawals at any of the Post Office’s 11,500 branches. The partnership deal will also enable the bank’s customers to check account balances and make cash and cheque deposits.
HSBC had been under pressure from some campaigners to announce such a link-up. However, at the same time, the Campaign for Community Banking Services group is concerned the move may give the banking group an excuse to continue closing branches.
Among the major banks only Santander has not reached a similar agreement, though some of its current account customers – those with former Alliance & Leicester current accounts opened before June 2010 – can access their accounts at post offices. Services available to current account customers at post offices vary depending on the agreements signed by individual banks (see right). You can check which services are available for your bank or building society account on the Post Office website or call 08457 223 344.
HSBC’s partnership deal includes the full range of services currently available. In common with most other major institutions, HSBC customers will be able to withdraw cash from their account at post office counters using what is described as “a cash machine with a face”. Here, you put your bank account debit card into the terminal on the counter, known as a pin pad, and enter your pin. Then the cashier, rather than the machine, dispenses the cash. HSBC current account holders will be able to check their balance by putting their card and number into the pin pad, prompting the cashier to hand over a printed balance, face down.
For people who do not like hole-in-the-wall cash machines, or are not used to using them, the personal touch of having someone to help with the process can be reassuring. But for anyone who is really not comfortable operating a pin pad, the Post Office has developed an alternative where they can withdraw cash using a cheque supported by a pre-arranged mandate from their relevant partner bank. HSBC will be offering this service.
HSBC customers will be able to make cash deposits into their account by putting their card into the pin pad – no pin is needed – and handing the cash to the cashier, who will then issue them with a receipt stamped with the date and amount. Customers of some banks, including Lloyds TSB and Halifax, need to fill in a personalised paying-in slip issued by their bank in order to make a cash deposit. To deposit a cheque, customers will need to put the cheque together with a personalised deposit slip issued by their bank into an envelope, also supplied by their bank. Once they have sealed the envelope, they hand it to the cashier who will give them a stamped receipt.
Some institutions including NatWest, Nationwide, Bank of Scotland and Royal Bank of Scotland have not yet signed up for their customers to be able to deposit either cash or cheques at post offices.
A spokesperson for the Post Office says it is committed to enabling all UK current account holders eventually to be able to access their current accounts through post office branches. Once HSBC is on board next spring, 95% of all UK debit card holders will be able to withdraw cash from their current accounts at post office counters. The facility to carry out basic banking at local post offices is a boon for many, especially those in remote rural areas who may live miles from the nearest bank branch or fee-free cash machine. Chances are they may be nearer to a post office. The Post Office’s UK network of 11,500 branches is bigger than those of all the major high street banks put together. Now an independent business, separated from Royal Mail since 1 April 2012, the Post Office has a branch within three miles of 99.7% of the population and has a commitment to no more branch closures. Many elderly people are also known to feel more secure making cash withdrawals inside a post office rather from a cash machine in the open air.
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