How you can access bank services during lockdown – mobile, telephone and branch

England has been plunged into a third national lockdown, with strict rules in place to curb the coronavirus outbreak.

With cases spiralling and the NHS in danger of being overwhelmed, there are only a limited number of reasons you can legally leave your home.

Schools are closed to all but vulnerable children and the children of key workers, pubs and restaurants can only serve takeaways (with no alcohol allowed), and non-essential shops have closed.

Banks are among the only businesses which are still allowed to open, as they provide essential financial services.

But many are encouraging customers to make use of online and mobile banking instead.

Here are the rules explained, and the guidance from different banks:

Can banks open?

Banks are allowed to stay open during England's third national lockdown, and bank staff are counted as key workers.

However, branches may be operating reduced hours and some branches may temporarily be closed.

Barclays

Barclays banks are open, but customers are encouraged not to visit unless they really need to.

Telephone and online banking is available, and there is a 24/7 LiveChat function in the Barclays app that allows customers to speak with a member of the team.

Keeping branches quiet will help protect vulnerable customers when they have no choice but to visit in person.

Some branches are operating reduced opening hours, so you should check ahead if you do need to go to the bank.

HSBC

Most HSBC branches are open, but they are operating reduced hours. You should check the opening times of your local branch before you visit.

Certain services (including appointments, new products or account openings) are temporarily unavailable. But you can still deposit or withdraw cash, pay bills, or change your address.

Face masks are mandatory in HSBC branches, unless you are exempt.

And customers are encouraged to use online or telephone banking where possible.

Lloyds, Halifax and Bank of Scotland

Lloyds, Halifax and Bank of Scotland (which are owned by the same parent company) branches are open, but strict social distancing measures are in place. This means you may have to queue outside.

Face masks are mandatory (unless you have an exemption).

Telephone banking is available to customers, but they are asked to avoid using this unless they have an urgent problem. This should keep the phone lines quiet, so that people can easily get through when they do need to speak to someone quickly.

Internet and mobile banking should be used where possible.

Santander

Santander branches are open 10am to 2pm Monday to Friday, and there is plenty of support in place to help customers remotely.

Automated online chat service 'Sandi' is available 24/7, and can answer simple queries. If you have a more complicated issue, 'Sandi' will connect you to a member of staff.

Online and telephone banking is available, and Santander also has a dedicated emergency helpline for customers who need urgent help.

This number (0800 015 6382) should only be used in genuine cases of emergency, and if you cannot contact staff online.

NatWest and RBS

NatWest and RBS (owned by the same parent company) ask that customers only visit branches if it's absolutely critical, and they cannot get the help they need online or over the telephone.

Phone lines are incredibly busy, and people might be facing a long wait on hold.

NatWest and RBS customers should use online or mobile banking where possible.

It is also possible to book a video banking appointment, which is confidential and secure.

TSB

TSB branches are open, with social distancing in place.

Customers are required to wear masks, unless they have an exemption. They may be asked to temporarily remove their mask for identification purposes.

Where possible, everyday banking should be done online or on mobile. This keeps telephone banking available for customers who cannot find a solution online, feel vulnerable, or need to speak to someone immediately.

Customers should only visit a branch in person if they're facing financial difficulties, or have a more complex issue they need to discuss.

Source: Read Full Article