Cash deposits at Post Office branches recover to pre-lockdown levels

Some £2 billion-worth of cash deposits were made by individuals and businesses at the Post Office in September – marking the first time since lockdown that the total has been higher than the equivalent month in 2019.

The value of cash deposits in September was higher than any month so far this year, the Post Office said.

Cash deposits by business and personal customers at Post Office branches in September were up by 7.7% on the same month last year.

It was the first time since February, before the coronavirus lockdown started, that cash deposits by business and personal customers had exceeded the equivalent month in 2019.

Within the £2 billion total, cash deposits by business customers amounted to £965 million, while more than £1 billion was deposited by personal customers.

The figure for business cash deposits in September 2020 was the highest since February this year, when £890 million was deposited at Post Office branches.

Martin Kearsley, director of banking at Post Office, said: “It’s encouraging to see the highest amount of money deposited at our branches all year.

“Cash deposits by personal customers recovered quickly after the first UK-wide lockdown and now far exceed what we saw even at the start of the year.

“We are encouraged to see business deposits now recovering strongly too and continue to support all local businesses with their cash needs.

“Cash withdrawals are making a steady recovery, which signifies growing consumer confidence, which in turn helps small businesses and local high streets as we know where cash is taken out locally it tends to be spent locally too.”

In terms of cash withdrawals by personal customers, £591 million was withdrawn at the Post Office’s 11,500 counters.

This was a 7% increased compared with the previous month.

The Post Office said that while withdrawals continue to be lower overall than a year earlier, the gap has narrowed.

In September, the amount withdrawn was down by 2.6% compared with September 2019.

Data in the Post Office’s cash tracker is taken from the banking framework – an agreement with banks and building societies which enables their customers to deposit and withdraw cash from Post Office branches. The figures exclude Post Office Card Account withdrawals.

Federation of Small Businesses (FSB) national policy and advocacy vice chairman Martin McTague said: “These numbers demonstrate that cash remains a vital part of the payments mix for many shoppers and businesses alike.

“Four in 10 of our high street members tell us it is still the number one payment method of choice among customers.”

He added: “We have to avoid a situation where this pandemic causes us to sleepwalk into a cashless society we’re not ready for yet. Many of those who rely on notes and coins are among society’s most vulnerable.”