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HSBC to offer bank accounts to homeless people

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16/12/2019
HSBC has teamed up with charities Shelter and Crisis to offer homeless people a basic bank account without the need for photo ID or proof of address.

Banks typically require photo ID, such as a passport or drivers licence, as well as proof of address, such as a council tax or energy bill, to open an account but with the new HSBC service, the charity’s address can be used instead.

According to Shelter, up to 320,000 people are facing homelessness across the UK. Having a bank account can make it easier to claim benefits, receive wages and pay rent.

Following a successful pilot in Liverpool, the service is now live in 31 branches in major UK cities including London, Birmingham and Manchester. More locations will be added in the new year.

More than 80 accounts were opened during the pilot, one of whom belonged to a Liverpool man who had been homeless for 12 years. Opening a bank account meant he could claim benefits for the first time in over a decade and has now been put on the housing list.

Jon Sparkes, chief executive at Crisis said: “It can be almost impossible to get a bank account without a fixed address and without ID, which often can be hard to keep safe and costly to replace if lost or stolen.

“A bank account can be a vehicle to help lift someone out of homeless, providing a way to receive payments, such as a salary or benefits. We’re pleased to see HSBC UK making it easier to get a bank account without having a fixed address, and we hope that this encourages all other banks to follow suit.”

Polly Neate, chief executive of Shelter, said: “It’s hard enough if you’re homeless, living day-to-day on the streets in the freezing cold or trapped with your children in a grotty hostel, but not having a bank account can make life even tougher.

“That’s why Shelter is pleased to be working with HSBC UK on this game–changing service. Having a bank account not only allows homeless people to receive wages and claim benefits but can instil a much-needed sense of independence.”

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