HSBC customers to get Post Office access
From next year HSBC will be offering its banking services through your local Post Office branch.
Customers who bank with HSBC - including its First Direct brand - will be able to access their account via their local Post Office branch from spring 2013.
The bank will join nearly every other high street bank in the UK when it starts to offer these services in what it says is a response to customer demand.
HSBC and First Direct
Customers of the bank will be able to use any of the Post Office’s 11,500 branches for basic banking on top of the 1,200 HSBC branches already in the UK.
This means nine million HSBC and First Direct customers will be able to use the Post Office for things like withdrawing and depositing money and checking account balances.
Most people who use their Post Office for banking access do so to manage their current account.
The First Direct current account, the 1st Account, has the added bonus of a £100 welcoming bonus for new customers and a £250 interest-free overdraft. It requires a deposit of at least £1,500 a month (or else you need to hold another First Direct product) but if you're not happy you'll then be given an extra £100 if you close the account within 12 months of opening it.
HSBC on the other hand offers a free standard current account which has an overdraft available on request. If you become a customer at either HSBC or First Direct you also get the bonus of being able to open one of the bank's competitive regular saver accounts at 8%.
Earlier this year we reported on data which suggested five bank branches would close each week between now and 2018. Last year HSBC closed 50 branches and 36 have gone this year.
Nearly 1,200 local communities have now lost all their bank branches while 900 only have one branch left according to the Campaign for Community Banking Services (CCBS).
However, after next spring, Santander will be the only major high street bank not to offer these services through the Post Office, although customers who were previously with Alliance & Leicester are able to do so.
At the moment the Post Office network serves around 20 million customers each week and 93% of the population. As many banks have pulled the local branches, the Post Office has become particularly important to people living in remote areas where local bank branches have been closed.
The full list of banks working with the Post Office is extensive and most will allow you to withdraw money or check your balance. Some, such as Clydesdale Bank, Barclays, Cahoot and Smile will also let you pay in cash and cheques.