If you have a Post Office card account for your benefits, tax credits or state pension payments then this will be closing in November. The DWP is sending out letters over the coming months. Find out what to do next in this guide.
What is a Post Office card account?
A Post Office card account (POca) is a special bank account you could only get from the Post Office for automated government payments such as benefits. It is not the same as any other current or savings account offered by the Post Office.
Do I have to close my Post Office card account?
Yes you do eventually. But there’s no need to panic as you have time.
From November 2021, the Department for Work and Pensions (DWP) and HM Revenue & Customs (HMRC) will stop making payments, including Universal Credit, other benefits, tax credits or your state pension, into Post Office card accounts.
You will still get your payment but will have to use a different bank account to draw out your money. You should receive a letter in the coming months explaining your next steps.
What will happen to my benefits or state pension payments after November 2021?
Your benefits or state pension payments will not stop. The only change is that you will no longer be able to use a Post Office card account to draw out your money.
What do I need to do now?
You can find out more about the letter you will receive and the steps you need to take on the Post Office website. Click onto this Post Office webpage, scroll down and select the grey tab marked ‘POca conversion’.
You can also contact the Post Office contact centre on 0345 722 3344 (or 0345 722 3355 for Typetalk), 8:15am-6pm, Mon-Fri, 8:30am-7:15pm, Sat, closed Sun or ask in your local Post Office branch.
How to choose a different bank account
Most current or basic accounts from UK banks, building societies and credit unions will already accept automated payments for your Universal Credit, other benefits or your state pension.
This could be a current account from a bank, building society or credit union or a basic fee-free bank account.
Find out more about the best accounts for your benefits or pension payments in our guide Choosing a bank account for your benefit payment.
If you are not sure what bank account is best for you, you can call DWP on 0800 085 7133 (for Typetalk call 0800 085 7146) or our Money Advice Line on 0800 138 777 (English) or 0800 138 0555 (Welsh). For Typetalk dial 18001 0800 915 4622. All our contact information can be found on this page.
How do I set up a new bank account if I’m shielding for coronavirus?
You have until November2021 (this year) to open a new bank account. So if you prefer to open an account in-person in your local bank branch you could wait for coronavirus lockdown rules to ease.
Alternatively, many banks will let you apply for a new bank account online or by telephone. This includes providing any identification you need to open the account.
If you need help applying for a bank account online you might want to ask a trusted friend or family member.
If you already have a helper (known as a ‘permanent agent’) for your Post Office card account, you might want to ask this person for help.
Find out more about this and getting help opening and managing your bank account in our guide.
What should I do when I have opened my new bank account?
When you have opened your new bank account you should give the DWP (or HMRC) the bank account details. You can do this by phone on 0800 085 7133 (for Typetalk call 0800 085 7146), or by post if you have received the letter from DWP or HMRC.
You should try and do this as soon as you have opened the new account.
How do I close my Post Office card account?
Wait until you start receiving your benefits or state pension into your new bank account before you close your Post Office card account.
Any remaining money left in your old account will be transferred over to your new account.
To close the account you will need to collect a P6703 account closure form from your local Post Office or call the Post Office contact centre on 0345 722 3344 to have a form sent to you.
If you need any help with completing or submitting the form you can contact the Post Office contact centre on 0345 722 3344 (or 0345 722 3355 for Typetalk).
When you’ve completed the form you should take it back to your local Post Office where they will check it and send it on. From this point it will take up to 10 working days for your account to be closed. When your account is closed any remaining balance will be transferred to a bank account of your choice.
Do not close your Post Office card account until you have checked that your benefits or state pension payments are being paid into your new bank account.
Can I still collect my benefits or state pension payments from the Post Office?
Most UK bank accounts already allow you to withdraw cash and manage your account from Post Office branches and this should not change.
You can check if your bank is listed and what services you can access on the Post Office websiteopens in new window.
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