Post Office card account changes are fast approaching - are you prepared?
We would like to alert our customers to the imminent Post Office card account closures for HMRC benefit payments, such as Child Benefit and Tax Credits from 30th November 21. If you have not contacted HMRC with alternative payment information your payments will stop!
A Post Office card account is a special bank account, only available from the Post Office for automated government payments such as benefits. It is different to any other current or savings account offered by the Post Office.
All customers who are unable to provide a bank, building society or credit union account will find their payments suspended until they provide new banking details, even stopped if you fail to update your details.
You should contact HMRC with your new account details as soon as possible, for tax credit its 0345 300 3900 or online via this link; For child benefit its 0300 200 3100 or online here. For those receiving other HMRC payments the go to direct.gov.uk for correct contact details (remember if you update your details for one benefit you can ask them to pay any other HMRC benefits to the same account)
Are you affected by the change? Help is at hand...
The main reason why people do not have a bank account is usually lack of ID or fear the credit check will lead to a refusal but much has changed in banking over recent years, The main being introduction of ‘fee free’ Basic Bank Accounts these provide no credit facility but allow you to set up direct debts; standing orders and pay online or with a debit card in shops - some only use a credit check to confirm your ID so this can great option?
The Money Saving Expert Martin Lewis has a good article around the best basic bank accounts available https://www.moneysavingexpert.com/banking/basic-bank-accounts/
To find out more about fee free Basic Banking check out the Money Helper government site https://www.moneyhelper.org.uk/en/everyday-money/banking/basic-bank-accounts
If you are worried about ID issues this blog has some useful tips on what banks should accept, often your tenancy agreement can be a good start.
We urge any customers who are struggling with these changes to contact our Welfare Benefit and Money Advice Team.
From November next year the Department for Work and Pensions (DWP) will also stop making payments, including Universal Credit, state pension, and other DWP benefits into Post Office card accounts so taking action now can prevent problems later.
When the DWP stop using Post Office card account you will still get your payments, but will have to use an alternative bank account to draw out money or a ‘payment exception’ service which restricts the amounts you can withdraw and places you can access your money. Those affected should receive a letter from the DWP shortly explaining the next steps (if they haven’t done so already).
Benefits or state pension payments will not stop, nor will payment dates change. The only change is that customers will no longer be able to use a Post Office card account to draw out money.
Customers can phone the DWP Customer Service centre on 0800 085 7133 (opening hours are 8.30am to 4.00pm, Monday to Friday) to provide new account details for their benefit or State Pension payments.
If you feel you need help or advice, you can self-refer using MyHaltonHome or our Halton Housing App, 24 hours a day, 7 days a week.