Post Office changes will allow more people to access their bank accounts on the shop floor.
The majority of UK bank customers will be able to check their balances and make deposits in the Post Office.
More Post Office customers will be able to access their current accounts and complete basic bank transactions in store under new government plans. Currently 60% of current accounts can be accessed through the service.
The new plans will extend the facility to people who have accounts with Royal Bank of Scotland and NatWest, bringing the figure up to 80%. Customers will be able to pay in cheques, make deposits and check their balances.
The plans have come after proposals for a Post Office Bank, which the government described as “time-consuming and extremely expensive”, were rejected. The creation of the so-called ‘People’s Bank’ was suggested to boost competition within the banking industry as well as make financial services more accessible to users.
The plans were quashed in favour of a selection of new strategies including the introduction of self service machines, longer opening hours and a print-on-demand service allowing customers to print out government forms.
Postal Affairs Minister Ed Davey said: “The vision is that the Post Office will become a refreshed, central point of our community life again where it will have more services”.
However, a spokesman for the National Pensioners Convention, which supported the creation of a Post Office Bank, said: “This is an extremely short-sighted decision which will put the future of the Post Office network in jeopardy. It will deprive millions of old people a secure banking system they would have confidence in”.
Other changes to Post Office services will include on-line services as well as self-service computer points in branches, which should cut down queuing times.