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Post Office extends service to help those self-isolating access cash

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The Post Office is making two of its existing products available to all UK banks, building societies and credit unions to enable the vulnerable and those self-isolating access their cash.

Payout Now is a one-time barcode voucher which is sent by text, email or post to someone who is self-isolating. They can then share it with a trusted individual to withdraw cash on their behalf.

The other product – Fast PACE – allows a customer to arrange for a trusted person to collect a cheque from them and cash it at a Post Office to give to the customer.

The Post Office has always run a pre-authorised cheque encashment (PACE) service enabling vulnerable customers to contact their bank and arrange to cash a cheque at a Post Office branch.

But the launch of Fast PACE comes after the Post Office worked with the Treasury, regulator, the Financial Conduct Authority, and banking trade body UK finance to give people quick access to cash during the coronavirus pandemic.

In order for customers to use either service, they need to contact their bank or building society. The provider will then inform the Post Office of the customer’s account details and the Post Office will arrange for that customer to be able to withdraw cash at their local branch.

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.”

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.”

The Post Office has 11,500 branches in the UK.

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