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Coronavirus: latest updates from
Post Office

We're doing everything we can to help our customers as some of our products and services have been impacted. Here's everything you need to know.

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In light of the recent government announcements, Post Office would like to share our thoughts on what this means for our customers, the services we offer and the precautions we are putting in place to keep our customers. postmasters and colleagues safe. Post Offices have been designated as an essential service by the government and we continue to thank our postmasters for keeping their branches open where possible and serving their communities.

 

“The vast majority of Post Offices are open. Many are located in convenience stores, newsagents or stand-alone branches that are allowed to be open by the government. Customers are able to get cash, deposit cheques, pay bills as well as send and collect parcels. These are vital services, particularly for many vulnerable customers.

 

Many Post Offices have floor markers and other information on posters to help customers stay two metres apart. Additional protective equipment is also being sourced for postmasters. Where a Post Office has to close (for example, if it’s in a library), posters should be displayed showing the nearest branch. Please check our Branch Finder app for all the latest information for Post Offices that are open.”

 

Nick Read, Chief Executive of the Post Office

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What are we doing?

 

Our branch network

Branches will be staying open as far as possible. We are ensuring our cleaning processes are stepped up to the appropriate levels needed to combat the virus. 

You can help everybody by sanitising your hands after handling cash, keypads, envelopes, parcels and counter tops and when you enter a new environment. We're making hand sanitiser available to customers, and remember to stay home if you've got symptoms.

Use our Branch Finder tool for the latest information on possible branch closures near you.

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Branches

We’re taking steps to keep our customers and colleagues safe, particularly our elderly and vulnerable customers and those who work in the health services.

This includes changes to our opening hours and designated times for NHS and vulnerable customers. You can find out more – as well as which services your local branch offers – by using our Branch Finder tool.

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Banking services

You can access cash via your bank using our branches and network of ATMs. We are keeping our branches functioning normally as far as possible, but before going to your local branch, use our Branch Finder tool to check that it continues to offer the services you need.

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Post Office Card Account

There is currently no disruption to our ability to provide Post Office Card Account (POCA) services. However, there may be changes to the branch that you usually use for these services. If your branch is closed, there will be a notice telling you which of your other nearby branches is open.

You can access cash and balance services in-branch or using a Post Office ATM.

If you are concerned about going into a branch, we want to reassure you that we are doing everything necessary to maintain safety in our branches. Alternatively, you can contact our call centre with urgent enquiries or nominate someone to be able to use your card. To do the latter, you will need to complete a form. Details of this can be found by following the link below.

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Bill payments

You can access our bill payment services in our Post Office branches and Payzone stores as normal. However, there may be disruption to the branch or store that you’d usually use for these services.

If you normally pay your bills at a Post Office branch that is currently closed, there will be a notice telling you which of your other nearby branches is open. You can also use our Branch Finder tool before leaving home to find out which nearby branches you can use.

If you usually pay your bills or top-up in a Payzone store, you can use the Store Locator to find out which retailers are open in your area.

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GOV.UK Verify

We’re experiencing an unprecedented demand for our service, so we've introduced a queueing system to manage the number of people accessing the service at any given time.

If you're waiting for a document to be verified through the app, please log out and check back later. Our team are working hard to process all incoming verification applications and will fulfill your request in due course. Once your document has been processed, you'll receive an email. You can then log back into your account to resume your registration.

If you need help, email myprofilehelpdesk@postoffice.co.uk and we'll get back to you as soon as we are able. Thank you for your patience and we apologise for any inconvenience caused.

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Post Office Money

We’re helping our customers during the coronavirus pandemic by offering Mortgage payment breaks and Personal Loan payment breaks of up to 3 months – which can be requested online. We also have processes in place for our Savings customers with fixed-term bonds who are experiencing hardship.

Payment breaks will not affect customers’ credit files held by credit reference agencies. Call:

Savings 0800 169 7500
Loans 0800 169 2000
To request a payment break click here
Mortgages 0800 169 9722
To request a payment break click here
Credit cards 0345 607 6500
(BOI credit cards starting with 5545 and 5425)
Credit cards 0344 481 0902
(Capital One credit cards starting with 5185)

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Call centres

Our call centres are experiencing unprecedented demand as customers have queries about coronavirus and their products. As a result, wait times are likely to be significantly longer than normal. However, even with colleagues working remotely, we are still able to operate our call centres.

We do ask that you consider how urgent your query is before picking up the phone. If you are able to contact us through the channels below it may help alleviate some of the call volume we’re experiencing, which will help everyone.

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Mail

Royal Mail and Parcelforce Worldwide are keeping delivery and collection services running, however have made some adjustments to parcel handling procedures and services.

These include:

- Changes to the guaranteed delivery times for Special Delivery Guaranteed services

- Collection of the recipient’s signature on delivery

- Services to some countries when posting items abroad

- Procedures for handling post

Please consult the Royal Mail website and the Parcelforce Worldwide website for detailed information on these changes.

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Life Insurance

We want to reassure our customers that there are currently no changes to your policy in light of the coronavirus pandemic.

Life insurance can provide a lifeline for your loved ones if you were no longer around. In the current climate, we are seeing an increased interest in our life insurance policies. So we are reminding customers that there is currently no disruption to our ability to offer policies or to honour current policies.

To find out more, please follow the link below.

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Broadband and Home Phone

In response to government measures, we have a reduced support team in our call centres. This means over the next few weeks you will experience longer wait times.

From 26 March we will be temporarily changing our contact centre opening hours to 9 am – 5:30pm, Monday to Sunday.

Please use My Account where possible and consult our Help & Support articles so we are able to prioritise our most vulnerable and elderly customers. Thanks for your patience and understanding.

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International Money Transfer

There is currently no disruption to our International Money Transfer service.

We understand that you might have a greater need to send money abroad during this uncertain period. You can continue to use our branches, app and the web to make international transfers and benefit from fee free transfer when sending online to other bank accounts.

To find out about our branch service, please visit this page. To transfer money online, please visit this one.

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Travel Money

We have temporarily suspended our online service and the ability to pre-order currency in branches. We will continue to sell currency in branches where stock is available.

You can also use our branches to sell back unused currency. If you bought your travel money from us and your trip has been cancelled, you can use our refund guarantee. Please be aware that our opening hours have changed.

Our Travel Money Card and Travel app are fully operational. New customers can also purchase a card via the app.

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Travel Insurance

As of 16 March 2020, we have taken the difficult decision to cease selling new travel insurance policies until further notice.

If you bought a Post Office Travel Insurance policy before this time, it will remain valid. However, please be advised that you may not be covered for travel to your destination due to regularly changing restrictions from the FCO and the government.

We have a detailed breakdown of what this might mean for you on our dedicated FAQs page and our Travel Alerts page. Unless you had planned to travel within the next 5 days, please use our online channels to be in touch.

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Personal Loans

We will offer repayment holidays of up to 3 months on all personal loans, which customers can apply for. This is to support our customers during this challenging time and won’t affect the terms of your loan or your credit rating.

Please contact us directly to discuss your loan and we will help you in any way we can.

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Mortgages

We understand that keeping on top of mortgage repayments might be high on your priority list but increasingly difficult at a time of financial uncertainty. We are offering payment breaks for up to 3 months, as well as flexible repayments to those experiencing difficulty as a result of the coronavirus pandemic.

If you make use of our repayment holidays, it will not affect the terms of your mortgage or your credit rating.

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Credit Cards

There is currently no disruption to our credit card services.

If you are experiencing financial difficulty as a result of the coronavirus pandemic and think that it could impact your ability to make repayments on time, we want to help.

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Home Insurance

There is currently no disruption to our ability to offer home insurance.

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Mail

We are working hard to provide the best possible service whilst protecting the health of our people and customers, in line with guidance from Public Health England (PHE).

Royal Mail and Parcelforce Worldwide have made some adjustments to parcel handling procedures and services. We have described the key changes here. For detailed information see the Royal Mail changes and the Parcelforce changes.

Royal Mail have made a temporary change to Special Delivery Guaranteed items:

For items posted from Thursday 19 March 2020 onwards, Royal Mail no longer guarantee deliveries by 1pm the next working day. They will still prioritise Special Delivery parcels and letters, but due to uncertain local staffing levels a guaranteed delivery time is not possible.

Where they can, they will aim to deliver by 1pm or before the end of day, but this is not guaranteed.

Special Delivery Guaranteed by 9am service remains unchanged. Royal Mail still guarantee delivery by 9am.

From 18 March 2020 Parcelforce Worldwide have suspended service guarantees but will seek to ensure all reasonable endeavours to maintain service levels where they can.

Royal Mail and Parcelforce Worldwide have temporarily changed the procedure for those services where they would normally capture a recipient’s signature on delivery in the UK. Postmen and women will not request a signature but will capture the recipient’s name and will ensure they take in the item.

If you are posting items abroad, please check on the Royal Mail and Parcel Force Worldwide incident update websites for the latest information.

PHE has advised that there is no perceived increase in risk of contracting coronavirus from handling post or freight. From experience with other coronaviruses, these types of viruses don’t survive long on objects, such as letters, parcels or identity documents. However, it is sensible to wash your hands thoroughly after contact with anything outside of your home and to avoid touching your face.

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