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Post Office makes access to cash easier for self-isolating customers

Photograph of UK bank notes and pound coins

The Post Office is making two of its products – ‘Payout Now’ and ‘Fast PACE’ (a pre-authorised cheque encashment service) – available to all the UK’s banks, building societies and credit unions to offer to any of their customers who are most in need of access to cash simply and speedily during this national emergency. 

The improved services mean that self-isolating or vulnerable citizens affected by the coronavirus pandemic can now contact their financial institution if they choose to offer these services and arrange to withdraw cash quickly from their normal accounts through any local Post Office branch, with the help of a friend, family member, carer or local support worker. 

Postmasters will already be familiar with ‘Payout Now’, the Post Office’s one-time voucher service that is available to all banks, building societies and credit unions to enable them to send a barcode voucher to their customers via text, email or in the post, which can be exchanged for cash in any Post Office branch. 

Post Office has always run a pre-authorised cheque encashment (PACE) service that enabled vulnerable customers to contact their bank and arrange to cash a cheque at a Post Office branch. Working with HM Treasury, the Financial Conduct Authority and UK Finance, Post Office has launched its ‘Fast PACE’ service. Customers can now name an individual, such as carer or family member, to cash a pre-authorised cheque on their behalf at a Post Office branch. 

When both these products are up and running for customers of financial institutions, they will be able to take advantage of them by contacting their bank or building society. Their banking provider will then inform Post Office of the customer’s account details and we will then arrange for that customer to be able to withdraw cash at their local branch. The Fast PACE service is available to HSBC customers from Monday 13 April. 

Payout Now 
In order to take advantage of this service offered by Post Office, a customer needs to:
•    Contact their bank, building society or credit union who will be able to issue a barcode voucher to their customer
•    The one-time use barcode voucher will be issued for a nominated amount and will be sent to the customer via SMS text, email or post
•    The barcode voucher can be exchanged in a Post Office branch on their behalf by a family member, friend, carer or volunteer for cash. 
In order to take advantage of this service offered by Post Office, a customer needs to: 
•    Contact their bank and inform them that they want to withdraw cash using the Fast Track Cheque Encashment service
•    The bank will then inform the Post Office of the maximum cheque amount they are allowed to cash
•    The customer can arrange for any family member, friend, carer or volunteer to collect the cheque from them. They complete the cheque as normal, payable to ‘The Post Office’, print the name on the back of the cheque of the third party collecting it for them and sign that side too.
•    That person then presents the cheque with their own ID such as bank card or driving licence. They can do this at their local Post Office or any other Post Office that is open. They then take the cash back to the individual who is self-isolating while following safe social distancing guidelines.
•    The Fast PACE service also means that if a helper has bought supplies for someone self-isolating, they can be reimbursed immediately by simply presenting the customer’s cheque at any Post Office.