Post Office has announced that it has secured the continuation of an agreement to handle bank account cash deposits and withdrawals for a further three years – ensuring a continued ‘lifeline’ for the millions of people and small businesses nationwide that rely on cash.
The announcement follows months of negotiation amid a backdrop of bank branch closures and concerns from groups representing businesses, older people and vulnerable members of society about their ability to access, spend and deposit cash.
Under the new agreement, known as ‘Banking Framework 3’, customers of 30 bank and building society brands will continue to be able to use Post Offices to withdraw and deposit cash in their accounts. They can also deposit cheques and make balance queries. The agreement runs from 1 January 2023 to 31 December 2025.
Post Office’s network of 11,500 branches plays a critical role supporting local High Streets with their cash needs enabling small businesses in every community of the UK to start up and thrive*. 99.7% of the population live within three miles of a Post Office. Furthermore, Post Offices offer more convenience as they offer longer opening hours and are often open much later than bank branches, with around 4,000 open at weekends. Many customers, particularly the vulnerable, prefer to withdraw the exact amount of cash they need at the counter which they can do securely and to the penny that they require.
Post Office data shows Post Offices have become even more important in handling cash as banks have closed branches**. In 2020, Postmasters handled almost 140 million cash transactions on behalf of the banks and building societies customers. In 2021, it was almost 150 million cash transactions.
Since 1 January 2020 – when the current agreement came into effect – until 31 December 2021, business and personal customers have deposited over £46 billion and withdrawn over £16 billion in cash in total. In 2022, the third and final year of the present agreement, Post Office predicts it will handle over £3 billion in cash every month.
Nick Read, Chief Executive at the Post Office, said: “This agreement provides a continued lifeline to the millions of people and small businesses that rely on cash nationwide. It highlights the unique and vital role that the country’s Post Offices play in local communities and economies. While banks are cutting their branch networks, Post Offices are seeing more and more deposits and withdrawals with Postmasters keeping their branches open long hours and helping to draw people to our High Streets.”