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Post Office Card Account

Volume 403: debated on Monday 14 April 2003

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To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions what steps his Department has taken to ensure that disabled customers who are unable to use the PIN pads for Post Office card accounts are informed that they can delay changing their payment method until an accessible alternative is in place. [108650]

Access to Post Office branches, the Post Office card account and PIN pads are the responsibility of Post Office Ltd. We are aware that groups representing disabled and blind/partially sighted customers have raised concerns about the PIN pads that have been installed in Post Offices. The Post Office have acknowledged that they need to make the PIN pad more accessible and user friendly. They have invited the R NIB and other disability groups to work with them.

There is no question of people not getting their money. Customers will be given all of the options available to them and it will be up to them to choose the account most suitable for them, in these circumstances customers may find that banks or building societies have accounts that suit their needs more effectively. The Department is committed to ensure that all people have access to their money via an account including the Post Office card account they can continue, for a while, to receive their benefits or pension by order book. These methods of payment will eventually be phased out. We have always recognised that there will be a small number of people who we cannot pay directly into an account. We will develop an alternative method to pay this group. Payment outlets for this alternative method will include Post Office branches.

Until the customer actually receives the mailing and contacts the number on the letter we cannot identify individuals' particular needs and circumstances.