A member of the Joint Committee on Communications, Natural Resources and Agriculture, Deputy Pringle an IPU presentation to the committee on the need for the Financial Inclusion Strategy to include the Post Office network in the roll out of the Basic Payment Account.
The Basic Payment Account is a means to ensure that everyone has access to a basic bank account.
Said the Donegal politician: “With the Department of Social Protection intending to move to a direct payment method into bank accounts the Basic Payment Account operated through the Post Office network will give many financially excluded people access to an account that will continue to allow them to access their social welfare payment through their local post office.
“Studies in the UK have shown that the lack of a bank account can cost people up to £1,000 per year in extra costs. The Department of Finance are piloting the implementation of the basic bank account at the minute and the Post Office is the perfect way to roll out this account.”
He said that more than 17% of people in Ireland do not have a bank account and the government have decided to look at providing a basic account for citizens.
Many people do not trust the banks and may not want an account or have easy access to banks. The Post Office is a trusted part of most communities and can provide the basic account in a way that will provide the easiest access for everyone and continue to allow people to get their payments in their local post office, said Pringle.
He added: “This proposal would also help to ensure the continued operation of many rural post offices by growing the services that they can provide. The IPU have also proposed that the post office could provide car tax, draft the register of electors and take other local authority payments. The committee decided to call in the relevant departmental officials to ensure that the proposal is given serious consideration.”