Government policies

Universal banking services

Starting dates

2001: announced

2003: start of rollout

Key department DTI
Key delivery agency The Post Office and individual post offices

A joint initiative between the government and the Post Office to provide access to basic accounts at post offices.  Aims: to modernise welfare payments (i.e. benefits, pensions and tax credits) by making payments directly into bank accounts, reducing administrative costs and fraud; to increase financial inclusion; and to provide a means of generating replacement business for the Post Office network, helping to ensure it remains viable.

Between 2003 and 2005, benefit payments were migrated from paper giros to Automated Credit Transfer (ACT).  Around two-fifths of individuals who have converted their benefit payments to direct payment have their benefits paid into Post Office Card Accounts. 4.7 million of which have been opened.