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Basic Payments Account

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Basic Payments Account

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Minister for Finance (Deputy Michael Noonan)

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Minister for Finance (Deputy Michael Noonan)

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Michael Noonan

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Snippet Contents:

As part of my Department’s Strategy for Financial Inclusion in Ireland, a basic payment account (named the Standard Bank Account) was offered by three banks (AIB, Bank of Ireland and permanent tsb) in three pilot locations (New Ross, Tallaght and Tullamore) from 29 June 2012. The Financial Inclusion Working Group (FIWG), which includes An Post was tasked with governance of the project. The Standard Bank Account (SBA) Pilot finished on 31 March 2013 after a 9-month pilot period.
A total of 205 accounts were opened during the Pilot, which was below expectations. The initial Pilot evaluation suggests that the lower than expected take-up of the SBA was due the lack of a ‘trigger event’ amongst the target cohort in the pilot locations, such as a requirement to have an income or benefit payment made to a bank account.
The Strategy for Financial Inclusion in Ireland noted that the post office network has the potential to play a key role in the delivery of basic payment accounts. It is a generally accepted view that many of the financially excluded trust the post office network. It is also clear that many of the financially excluded make use of An Post’s services already and that many of them use An Post branches for the receipt of social welfare payments and benefits. When the Pilot commenced An Post could not on its own offer transactional banking services to its customers as it required arrangements with banking providers to do so. However, we did secure a limited offering of the Standard Bank Account through post offices in the New Ross area from November 2012.
I am advised that the report of the FIWG on the Pilot will be submitted for my consideration in a few weeks, following which I expect that the Report will be presented to Government and published.
I understand that one of the initial conclusions from the Pilot is that the involvement of the post office network will be one of the key requirements for successful national roll-out of the Standard Bank Account. My Department through the Financial Inclusion Working Group will work closely with all potential providers including An Post over the coming months to optimise the availability of the Standard Bank Account nationally.