Survey data suggests that the number of people without access to a bank account increased in 2013-14; 1.71m people did not have their own account, up from 1.5m the previous year. The creation of the new fee-free Basic Bank Account, and the voluntary commitment from the main high-street banks to increase access to these accounts, should have removed many of the barriers to accessing a bank account but we continue to hear from frontline organisations across the UK that your clients are still being refused an account. We continue to work with HM Treasury and the BBA, as well as the banks themselves, to identify where and why the problems are occurring and to increase awareness across the banking sector and support organisations about how to implement the Basic Bank agreement properly so that everyone who needs an account can access one with ease and dignity.
As part of this work we are planning an Access to Banking webinar in May for Financial Health Exchange members. The webinar will cover the Basic Bank account agreement, cover the common problems when trying to access an account and how to overcome them, and share good practice from across the sector on improving access to bank accounts. So we’d like to hear from you on any of the following questions:
Are your clients being refused an account? If so, can you share the following details with us so we can identify any new barriers and/or emerging patterns about lack of access? The more info you can give, the better we can understand the barriers and support you to tackle them effectively. Useful information you can share with us includes:
- Where are you based?
- Which client group are experiencing problems?
- What’s happening? (being turned away, being given a full current account when they should have been given a Basic Bank Account etc.?)
- If they are being refused, what’s the reason given? (Poor credit score, lack of ID, other?)
- If it’s an ID issue, what kind of ID documents did they have? What did the bank say?
- Did the client experience any significant negative impact as a result of being refused the account? (loss of job offer or employment/income, loss of accommodation, other?)
- Have they got an account now? If yes, how and where?Are you having sustained success in accessing accounts for excluded clients? Please tell us how you are achieving that? What can we share with other FHEx members?
What else do you want to know about accessing bank accounts? Tell us your questions so we can shape the webinar.
If you are interested in signing up for the webinar, please enter your details in the form below. We will share more details on content, date and time later in April.