Engage, the community banking division of Contis-Solaris, has today announced the integration of Post Office payments to ensure more people, including those in remote communities, have access to cash services.
With nearly 5000 bank branches closing in the UK since 2015, access to cash and in-person payments is a growing issue for many communities. This integration will improve convenience for Engage account-holding credit union members.
Account holders can deposit cash into their Engage account at any one of over 11,500 Post Office branches. The deposited funds are then instantly available to spend via the debit card, to pay household bills, or to send back to a savings account held at their credit union.
Geoff Leech, managing director at Engage, said: “With bank branches rapidly disappearing from our high streets, credit unions are a little-known but excellent alternative for everyone, and our new integration with Post Office means Engage accounts now provide more convenient access to cash services for members, regardless of their location.
“Credit unions are often dismissed as being only for those excluded from the traditional banking system. Engage delivers the essential debit card and payment solutions they require to deliver financial opportunity for all – think of them as an ethical, community-centric alternative to challenger banks.”
Ross Borkett, head of banking at Post Office, said: “I’m delighted that we’re working with the Engage account to support their customers with cash deposit and withdrawal services at our branches.
“Postmasters across the country continue to provide critical cash services for communities, many keeping their branches open long hours during the week and over the weekend, ensuring customers can access cash when and where they need it.”
Credit unions and community banks are not-for-profit member-owned financial institutions that offer many of the same services as traditional banks – loans, savings, and current accounts. Their ethos revolves around treating customers as individuals, not numbers, and the emphasis is on service, not profits.
Membership of a given credit union is based on a ‘common bond’. This can be working for a particular employer or in a particular industry, or living or working in a geographical area.
The Post Office payments integration is the latest in a series of innovations Engage, the community banking division of Contis-Solaris, has brought in including contactless payments, budgeting tools, Apple Pay, open-banking and cashback rewards on everyday purchases.
Ravi Ravindran, chief executive of Lewisham Plus Credit Union, said: “The ability to deposit cash in any of Post Office’s 11,500 branches is a welcome development. This will save time and money for our members, who will normally have to visit one of our branches if they are making cash deposits.
“Although we are entering an increasingly cashless society, there are still plenty of people who prefer cash and in-person banking. We believe that freedom of choice when providing money management services is important.”
Gary Moran from Wessex Community Bank added: “This new facility adds even greater flexibility and convenience for our members and is yet another exciting feature which makes the Engage card so valuable.”