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
Budget/target/comment 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.