Post Office: Easier access to cash products for those self-isolating in coronavirus crisis | Personal Finance | Finance

The company is rolling out a faster service for two of its cash products amid the pandemic for ease of service. Toward the end of March, Prime Minister Boris Johnson announced all Britons should stay inside as much as possible. This includes the elderly and vulnerable health groups who were told to totally shield themselves from outside communities to protect against the virus.

As a result, many people have been unable to contact their financial institutions in the same way as they would do throughout daily life.

The measures announced by the Post Office are an attempt to create a normal service as much as possible. 

A pre-authorised cheque encashment (PACE) service was a frequently used service at the Post Office.

However, working alongside the Treasury, the Financial Conduct Authority and UK Finance, the Post Office has now launched its ‘Fast PACE’ service.

The service allows a customer to arrange for a trusted person such as a friend or family member to collect a cheque from them, cash it at the Post Office and then return with the cash. 

Fast PACE also means someone who has bought supplies for a vulnerable person can be reimbursed quickly and easily by presenting a cheque at any Post Office.

The second service to be affected is the Payout Now scheme. 

This is a one-time voucher service available to all banks, building societies and credit unions.

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It allows them to send a barcode voucher to customers through email, text or via post, which can then be exchanged for cash in any branch.

Martin Kearsley, Banking Director at the Post Office, said: “Being able to easily access cash is a vital service for older people and those self-isolating. 

“Our Payout Now and Fast PACE services mean they can access cash quickly and securely to repay someone for a helpful service like shopping, or simply manage their finances, providing peace of mind that cash can be securely sourced with the help of any trusted helper.”

Whilst the majority of Post Office branches are remaining open during the pandemic, some have been forced to close because of self-isolation reasons.

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The Post Office is seen as a vital part of British infrastructure, and its role has increased during the coronavirus crisis.

Post Office employees are therefore considered essential workers, and are permitted to travel to work under government guidelines. 

The Government recently announced Royal Mail is to be a key partner in the delivery and return of coronavirus testing kits to NHS frontline staff. 

13,000 priority postboxes are to be set up to allow frontline healthcare workers to post back their tests with ease.

The used tests will then be tracked through the postal system until they arrive at their destination. 

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