Post Office to extend current accounts to another 81 branches

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The Post Office is to extend its presence in the current account market with the roll out of services to another 81 branches.

The pilot scheme, which so far has been available at 29 branches in East Anglia, includes an account aimed at low-income customers who struggle to access mainstream banking.

The Control Account is one of three current accounts on offer in partnership with Bank of Ireland as the Post Office seeks to beef up its presence on the high street as a major financial services provider.

The Post Office, which has 11,500 branches in the UK, is now extending its offering to 81 sites in the East Midlands and East of England.

John Willcock, head of current accounts at the Post Office, said: "This exciting move is in line with our planned next steps into making our accounts accessible to thousands of customers who are looking for a credible alternative to their existing bank.

"The feedback from our customers in East Anglia has been really positive and the take up of all three accounts is in line with our expectations."

Control Account customers pay £5 a month to ensure that they do not face further banking charges when payments are returned unpaid for direct debits and standing orders. The minimum deposit is £20.

Many of those who do not have bank accounts are thought to be deterred by the risk of such penalties, but as a result can miss out on better deals for utility payments. The Post Office said paying such bills by direct debit could save customers on average £125 to £215 a year.