Source: Post Office
The Post Office today launches three new current accounts offering customers choice, good value, fair and transparent products with no hidden charges and access to the largest branch network in the UK.
The introduction of the Post Office current account, in partnership with Bank of Ireland UK, will offer greater choice for customers as well as a more inclusive approach to banking. The three accounts on offer will be Standard, Packaged and Control, each designed to appeal to different customer needs. The initial pilot will launch in 29 branches in East Anglia providing valuable insight into how the Post Office could adapt its offering before a full launch across the network planned for 2014.
The launch of Post Office current accounts comes ahead of the new seven day switching regulation to be introduced in September, which will make it easier for customers to move from one bank to another.
The three current accounts will complement the well-established award winning services offered by the Post Office and will give customers a one-stop option to service all their financial needs from current accounts to mortgages and travel money. It will also generate increased income to sub-postmasters, supporting the financial future of 11,500 branches across the UK.
Nick Kennett, Director of Financial Services at Post Office, said: "We wanted to bring a new current account to the market because the Post Office is a different type of financial services provider with a diverse customer base. By offering a range of accounts, Standard, Packaged and Control, the Post Office will meet the needs of the majority of customers, by offering greater choice when looking for a current account."
"Consumers tell us they feel penalised by complex and expensive bank charges and fees. When they go overdrawn they often don't realise how much it will cost and this can have a real impact on their finances. With the Post Office what you see is what you get - no surprises, just a fair and transparent way to manage your money."
Nick Fahy, Distribution & Marketing Director, Bank of Ireland UK added: "Over the number of years that Bank of Ireland UK and the Post Office have worked togetheost Office have worked together as partners, we have established a reputation for delivering award-winning financial products and services which customers want and value. The launch of a Post Office current account pilot in East Anglia is a natural progression of this partnership."
Postal Affairs Minister Jo Swinson said: "The Post Office has always been, and continues to be, a universally recognised and much loved presence on the high street. Customers have real trust and confidence in the Post Office and with more branches than the high street banks combined, I welcome the increasing role it is playing in meeting the financial needs of its customers. That is why I am delighted to be applying to open a Post Office current account.
"With the launch of today's trial, the Post Office can offer customers a one-stop service for all their financial needs from current accounts to mortgages, credit cards and ISAs to travel money.
"This is just one way in which the Post Office is modernising to make sure it has a successful and sustainable long-term future. The Government is committed to supporting the Post Office which is why we've committed £1.34 billion to both maintain and modernise the network, keeping post offices at the heart of local communities."
Customers will have real choice and convenience when it comes to how they operate their account online, over the phone or in one of the Post Office's network of over 11,500 branches. They will also have access to the entire UK LINK network of over 60,000 free to use ATMs across the UK.
The new Post Office current accounts are:
The Standard Account comes with a debit card and is the Post Office's 'free in credit' everyday banking offering.
It will appeal to those who want all the convenience of an everyday current account with a straightforward, easy-to-understand approach to banking fees and no hidden charges or unexpected surprises.
It offers unrivalled access to banking services and transactions, all from an organisation customers know they can trust to treat them well.
Accounts can be set-up with an opening deposit of £100.
Standard Account customers can request a chequebook and can apply for an overdraft facility either when opening the account or anytime afterwards. Overdraft interest rate is currently 14.9% EAR. There are no unarranged borrowing charges.
The Packaged Account is an 'added value' offering and provides a compelling range of additional benefits for a competitive monthly fee of just £8.
It is designed for the growing group of customers who enjoy benefits such as European Multi-Trip Family Travel Insurance and Vehicle Breakdown Cover.
It will also provide Identity Theft Protection services and the convenience and guaranteed savings of a discounted Post Office Travel Booking Service that offers up to 7.5% discount on a variety of holidays and travel needs.
Packaged Account customers can request a chequebook and can apply for an overdraft facility either when opening the account or anytime afterwards. Overdraft interest rate is currently 14.9% EAR. There are no unarranged borrowing charges.
The Control Account helps customers to keep in control of their finances and is a fully functional, 'inclusive' bank account for those who are new to banking, potentially on lower incomes or who have had difficulty with default bank charges in the past.
For a fixed monthly fee of £5, no further charges will be made for payments that are returned unpaid such as direct debits and standing orders.
It offers customers the certainty of knowing how much their banking will cost them without any unexpected surprises.
The Control Account aims to deliver banking services in a way that removes the risk of missed payment charges and saves less affluent customers money overall.
To open the Control Account customers will need a minimum opening deposit of £20.
The Control Account offers a full banking service proposition to customers - branch banking, nationwide ATM access, online banking (including funds transfers and bill payments), telephone banking, Direct Debits and standing orders.
Control Account customers could save on average between £125 and £215** by switching utility payments to Direct Debit. Furthermore, customers who are new to banking can typically incur, on average, £140 per year in penalty bank charges, meaning customers could save money and have peace of mind with this kind of account.
Customers in East Anglia wishing to open an account will be able to pop into their local branch to talk through their options with specially trained staff, who will be on hand to discuss the types of accounts on offer and which one will suit their individual needs best. They will also be able to assist with the completion of the application form as well as transferring direct debits.
Customers who are unable to visit a participating branch in East Anglia can register their interest in a Post Office current account by going online at www.postoffice.co.uk/currentaccounts/register
The Post Office is currently undertaking the largest investment and support programme in its history and will see approximately 6000 Post Offices converting to new style branches. This significant transformation will provide more and more essential services to our customers across mails, government and financial services. The introduction of the current account is a further statement of this ambition.