From left to right: Laura Tarling, External Affairs Manager South of England & Wales & Llyr Gruffydd
With more and more high street banks closing across north Wales, many people feel financially stranded and lack access to funds during the current cost-of-living crisis. That’s the view of Plaid Cymru Member of the Senedd Llyr Gruffydd who met representatives of the Post Office in the Senedd this week to discuss their services across the region.
According to Which? Since 2015, over 4,700 banks and building society branches have closed across the UK. This has left the local Post Office as the only provider of free access to cash for communities and businesses alike across large parts of North Wales. In fact, Post Office branches now make up 3 in 5 (60%) of all branch-based cash access across the country, with more branches than the banks and building societies combined.
And as budgets are tightening around families and households, and energy prices continuously rising, the Post Office’s new PayOut system is a lifeline to many. The service allows organisations and businesses to provide payments, refunds and cashbacks to customers through sending a one-time use, simple code or bar code, which is sent via text, email, or letter. Customers can then redeem this voucher at a Post Office or Payzone outlet and receive cash immediately over the counter. The service avoids the need for digital bank payments or cheques.
Llyr Gruffydd MS said “Having been involved in many campaigns against closing bank branches in North Wales, I’ve seen the impact losing these services can have on our communities. It’s mainly the most vulnerable that are left stranded particularly in these most challenging recent years.
“It’s very welcome to see the Post Office stepping up to fill the void left by banks and building societies and it’s broad range of services is now a critical provision for many communities.
“The new PayOut method particularly will provide a great service to local councils, organisations and businesses as well as to customers who need easy and free access to cash and support. Whilst access can still be a challenge for the most rural communities, we know that 92% of the population have access to a Post Office within a mile of their home. This is certainly proving to be a much-needed lifeline for communities in north Wales.