BANKS remain open during England’s third national coronavirus lockdown but some branches have reduced opening hours.
You can also still access many banking services online or over the phone, and that might be a better idea than visiting in person unless your problem is urgent.
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High street banks can remain open but check ahead for opening timesCredit: Alamy
Many shops and services are shut during the latest lockdown which could last until the end of March.
But banks are considered essential and can stay open as they provide financial services.
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.
Which businesses WILL be staying open through lockdown
THE following businesses are allowed to stay open during the coronavirus lockdown in England:
- Garden centres
- Building merchants and suppliers of building products
- Market stalls selling essential retail
- Businesses providing repair services but only if they primarily offer repair services
- Petrol stations
- Automatic (but not manual) car washes
- Vehicle repair and MOT services
- Bicycle shops
- Taxi and vehicle hire businesses
- Banks and building societies
- Post offices
- Short-term loan providers and money transfer businesses
- Funeral directors
- Laundrettes and dry cleaners
- Medical and dental services
- Vets and pet shops
- Animal rescue centres, boarding facilities, and animal groomers
- Agricultural supplies shops
- Mobility and disability support shops
- Storage and distribution facilities
- Car parks
- Public toilets
- Motorway service areas
- Outdoor playgrounds
- Outdoor parts of botanical gardens and heritage sites for exercise
- Places of worship
- Crematoriums and burial grounds
Barclays branches remain open “wherever possible” during England’s lockdown for urgent and essential banking.
Customers should only visit branches if they can’t wait so it can help those who need it the 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.
Most branches of HSBC remain open during the lockdown 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.
In fact, last week HSBC warned customers they could have their accounts closed if they refuse to wear one in its branches.
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 keeping their branches open.
During previous lockdowns, the banks asked customers to visit only if it’s critical and they aren’t able to use the NatWest or RBS app or online banking instead.
Mobile branches, where staff visit different locations to offer services, have been paused.
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 owned by the same parent company, all remain open.
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 remains open but 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 2pm on weekdays and 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 branches remain open but the bank says customers should check local opening times first.
This is because some branches are running under reduced hours, with some closing as early as 2pm.
Some of the services usually on offer may also be different during lockdown.
There are some branches which are temporarily closed, these are: Bastwell (Blackburn), Brighton (Western Road), Greenford, Eastwood, St Austell, Richmond, Ossett, Bradford and Romford.
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’s rules for the third 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 offer takeaway and delivery services, although takeaway pints are banned.