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Post Office Card Account: Rural Areas

Question for Department for Work and Pensions

UIN 215600, tabled on 1 February 2019

To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, what assessment he has made of the potential effect on elderly people in rural areas of the planned discontinuation of the Post Office card system.

Answered on

11 February 2019

The Government’s contract for the Post Office card account comes to an end on 30 November 2021. For those claimants and pensioners who are unable to open a mainstream account ahead of this date, the DWP will implement an alternative payment service that allows users to obtain cash payments in their local area (including suburban and rural locations) before the end of the contract. When commissioning this alternative payment service, it will be our priority to ensure that elderly vulnerable people are protected and catered for.

Our communications with Post Office card account users will highlight that 99% of a banks’ personal customers, are able to withdraw cash, deposit cash and cheques, and make balance enquiries at a Post Office counter via its network of 11,600 branches. Therefore, those receiving benefit and pension payments into a bank account can continue to collect their money from the Post Office so there should be minimal effect on elderly people in rural areas. We have already introduced a phased conversion process ahead of 2021 and we will be writing to all Post Office card account users to ensure they are provided with an alternative payment service.