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Post Office Card Account

Volume 405: debated on Thursday 22 May 2003

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To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions if he will make a statement on the procedure to be followed by someone who wishes to open a Post Office card account. [114372]

I refer the hon. Member to the written answer I gave the hon. Member for North-East Hertfordshire (Mr. Heald) on 6 May 2003, Official Report, column 545W.

To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions what percentage of enquiries from members of the public on automated transfer of benefits to bank accounts have enquired about the use of the post office card account. [114011]

The information is not available in the format requested. However, as at 9 May 2003, 257,405 customers have requested a post office card account.

To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions which banks and building societies operate accounts into which direct payments of pensions and benefits may be made, and which can be accessed at Post Office branches. [114676]

There are a range of bank and building society accounts into which direct payment of pensions and benefits can be made.The institutions which agreed to make their basic bank accounts accessible at Post Offices, from April 2003 are: Abbey National; Alliance and Leicester; Bank of Ireland; Bank of Scotland; Barclays; Clydesdale bank; The Co-operative bank; First Trust bank; Halifax; HSBC; Lloyds TSB; Nationwide Building Society; NatWest; Northern bank; The Royal Bank of Scotland; Ulster bank and Yorkshire bank.In addition the Post Office provides banking services on behalf of: Alliance and Leicester; Barclays; The Co-operative bank; First Direct (Scotland only); Lloyds TSB and the Internet banks, Cahoot and Smile. The paper-based service enables customers of these banks to cash cheques at post offices free of charge. Also from 1 April 2003, the Alliance and Leicester have provided electronic access to their bank accounts at post offices and 10 million Barclays Bank current account holders can now withdraw cash from their accounts across any Post Office counter in the country, using the PIN pads newly installed there. Post Office Ltd. is seeking to extend such arrangements with other banks.