BANKS branches remain open during England’s third national coronavirus lockdown but some locations have reduced opening hours.
You can also still access many banking services online or over the phone and this may be a better idea than visiting in person unless your problem is urgent.
High street banks can remain open but check ahead for opening timesCredit: Alamy
Many shops and services are shut during the latest lockdown which is expected to last until mid-February – but banks are considered an essential service and can stay open.
Some banking services are available in Post Offices which are also allowed to stay open.
Here’s how you can do your banking at branches and the alternatives to going in person at all the major high street banks.
Barclays branches remain open during England’s lockdown.
During previous lockdowns, the bank said it will remain open “wherever possible” for urgent and essential banking.
Customers should only to visit branches if they can’t wait so it can help those who need it most.
Some branches may be closed or have reduced hours so it’s worth checking ahead if you do need to go in person.
You can use Barclays branch finder to check and it suggests checking each time you go in case things have changed since you were last there.
If you do need to go to a Barclays branch, there are safety measures in place, including social distancing measures, plastic screens and regular hand washing.
Which businesses WILL be staying open through lockdown
THE following businesses are allowed to stay open during the coronavirus lockdown in England:
- Food retailers
- Convenience stores and corner shops
- Off licenses and licensed shops selling alcohol including breweries
- Pharmacies and chemists
- Hardware stores
- Building merchants and building services
- Petrol stations
- Car repair and MOT services
- Bicycle shops
- Taxi or vehicle hire businesses
- Building societies
- Credit unions
- Short term loan providers
- Savings clubs
- Cash points
- Currency exchanges
- Post offices
- Funeral directors
- Launderettes and dry cleaners
- Dental services
- Hearing services
- Mental health services
- Veterinary surgeons and pet shops
- Agricultural supplies shop
- Storage and distribution facilities
- Car parks
- Public toilets
- Garden centres
Branches of HSBC remained open during the previous lockdowns and most locations are likely to stay open this time round too but opening hours and the services available may be limited.
Current branch hours are either 10am-4pm or 10am-2pm and you can check your local branch opening times and any changes using the HSBC branch finder.
If you are heading into branch you must wear a face mask unless exempt.
For customer service help you can use the app, live chat online or call the bank directly.
The bank says its phone lines are extremely busy and wait times are longer than normal, with priority being given to those who need help urgently or who are directly affected by coronavirus.
NatWest and RBS
NatWest and RBS, which are both owned by the same parent company, are likely to continue to keep their branches open.
During previous lockdowns, the bank asked customers to visit only if it’s critical and they are not able to use the NatWest or RBS app or online banking instead.
Mobile branches, where staff visit different locations to offer services, were paused during the last lockdowns.
You can do tasks like transferring money, paying bills and viewing statements online and on the app and help with banking online is available via webchat and messaging.
You can phone NatWest and RBS too but the banks are warning customers that lines are very busy and asking that people only call when “absolutely critical”.
Video banking is also available for those who can’t make it to a branch.
NatWest has a bunch of information and resources online to help, including for people with caring responsibilities, how to manage work changes, support for those over 70 in extended isolation and those struggling financially.
Lloyds Bank, Halifax, Bank of Scotland
Branches of Lloyds, Halifax and Bank of Scotland, which are all owned by the same parent company, all remained open during previous lockdowns.
It is likely to stay open during this lockdown too but there may be changes to opening times or temporary closures at your local branch so its best to check ahead first before going there.
Anyone visiting branches will have to follow social distancing guidelines, wear a face covering unless exempt and you may also have to wait outside if it’s busy.
You can do a lot of banking online or via your bank’s app to avoid going into a branch.
There is also telephone banking, but each of the banks are asking customers to avoid this unless it’s urgent, so those who most need it are able to get through.
How to keep yourself safe from hackers and scammers
FOLLOW these steps to protect yourself from hackers in the future:
- Make a ‘strong’ password with 8 or more characters and a combination of upper case characters, numbers and symbols
- Don’t do online banking on public WiFi, unless absolutely necessary
- Don’t click on dodgy email links claiming to be from banks
- Use different passwords for different sites
- Never re-use your main email password
- Use anti-virus software
- Don’t accept Facebook friend requests or LinkedIn invitations from people you don’t know
- Think before you put personal info on social media
- Find My iPhone, Android Lost and BlackBerry Protect all allow you to remotely wipe a stolen phone. Set this feature up
- Only shop online on secure sites
- Don’t store your card details on websites
- Password protect your phone and other devices
Santander remained open during the first and second lockdown in England and is likely to continue to welcome customers now.
However, customers of the bank are advised only to visit branches if they have a problem that can’t be solved online or over the phone.
Most branches are open between 10am and 3pm on weekdays and between 10am and 2pm on Saturdays, but there might be exceptions so check your local branch first.
Santander has online banking and a mobile app where you can access a range of services and you can cash a cheque by posting it to your local branch.
The bank has a range of advice on how to handle coronavirus, including how to get in touch with the bank if you’re struggling, specific support which might be available to you, help for vulnerable customers and more.
TSB is likely to stay open too and the bank says customers should check local opening times first and some of the services usually on offer may also be different.
There are some branches which are temporarily closed: Brighton Western Road, Thornliebank and Keynsham.
There are also reduced hours at: Bluewater, Cheapside, Flint, Mapperley, Taunton, Old Street, Cwmbran, Bolton (Hotel Street), Bolton (Horwich), St Austell, Truro.
You can also speak to your local branch directly if you need financial help.
If you do need to visit a branch you’ll need to follow social distancing guidelines, wear a face covering, unless exempt, and you might be asked to wait outside.
You can also find a range of financial support and guidance from TSB online.
Banks are allowed to remain open under the government new rules for the second lockdown and so are other essential shops and service.
Supermarkets are open and they have certain rules you need to follow in store when visiting – and there may be some limits on items too.
Pubs, bars and restaurants are closed but they can serve takeaway food – find out what your fave food chains are doing.