We're excited to announce a trial with Post Office that we believe will have a positive impact for many newly arrived persons in the UK – in particular, members of the refugee community. This is part of our ongoing efforts to make financial services accessible to all, with the help of nationwide, trusted organisations.
The idea was born out of a need we observed while working with refugees. When refugees are granted asylum in the UK, they are given 28 days to find a job, come off benefits (£35.39 a week), find a house and open a bank account. This time frame is very tight and absolutely critical for newly recognised refugees to get on their feet. According to a survey by the Refugee Council, around half live in temporary accommodation or become homeless in this period.
This is the time frame in which we want to offer Monese as a banking alternative. An account is crucial for a person’s ability to, among other things, receive salaries and pay rent.
The address problem
Whilst we don’t ask for proof of address, we do need a residential address at which to register a customer’s account and deliver their debit card to.
Needless to say, many refugees cannot find a home immediately after they are granted asylum, and many people who newly arrive in the country don’t have an address for the first few weeks. So we need another solution to help people get access to this most fundamental financial service.
Enter Post Office
We are teaming up with the Post Office to allow customers without a residential address, regardless of whether they are a refugee or not, to register their account address at – and have their debit card securely delivered to – their local Post Office.
We are starting the process with an eight-week trial with a small number of selected Post Office branches near our refugee and migrant non-profit partners.
For the trial we are also partnering with the East European Resource Centre in London, Refugee Education Training Advice Service in Leeds, the Derby Refugee Advice Centre, RefuAid, Gloucestershire Action for Refugees and Asylum Seekers, and Jobs Education and Training North, based in Newcastle. We hope the spread of partners across the country will allow us to trial the scheme in a variety of different circumstances to ensure that this is a national, and not local, solution.
As a business we have always had financial inclusion at our core, and want to ensure we are doing as much as we can to embed this in our processes going forward. We’re really excited by this trial and hope that it will prove a solid solution for our customers.