BANKS are continuing to offer their services and advice during the ongoing coronavirus crisis that has seen the closure of restaurants, pubs, gyms and non-essential stores.
Many people are worried about the impact of the virus on their finances even after the government’s announcement of a coronavirus job retention scheme.
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But banks will stay open despite Boris Johnson saying on March 23 that Brits will only be able to go to supermarkets, pharmacists, pet shops, hardware stores and newsagents.
They may, however, have changed their opening times.
Are the banks open today?
Yes, many banks are still continuing to offer services in their branches across the country.
With a high volume of calls, they are also asking customers to only call their support services with urgent queries.
Call wait times are much longer than usual for the majority of banks.
What time will banks open?
However, a large number of its branches have closed in recent days to protect customers and staff, and updates on this can be found through Barclays’ branch finder.
For the branches which are open, most are offering limited hours, with many just opening from 9.30am-1pm but this varies greatly.
Check online first to see when your local bank is open.
Barclays is offering emergency interest-free overdrafts to customers struggling with finances during the coronavirus pandemic.
Bank of Scotland, Halifax, Lloyds Bank
Around 130 of Lloyds Banking Group’s 1,600 branches are temporarily closed, with the rest opening with reduced hours.
Branches are open from 10am to 2pm on weekdays, with no weekend openings.
This is subject to change, so be sure to check online first using the branch finder.
Previous opening times varied by branch.
All three banks are offering emergency interest-free overdrafts to customers struggling to keep on top of their finances
The banking group stresses you should only visit if you are not showing any of the symptoms of coronavirus.
HSBC is advising customers to use mobile and online banking, but the majority of branches will remain open but on reduced hours.
You will need to check its branch finder, as different branches across the country have different opening and closing times.
All of its branches are now closed at the weekend until further notice.
The bank has also allocated £5billion to help businesses in need of support as well as offering the option of a temporary increase in credit card and overdraft limits.
Metro Bank is open but it has tweaked its opening hours to 10am to 4pm Monday to Friday, with the branches closed over the weekend.
Previously, branches were open 8am to 8pm Monday to Friday, 8am to 6pm on Saturdays, and from 11am to 5pm on Sundays.
It advises customers to stay updated with its service status page.
Nationwide says the majority of its 650 branches remain open, although the opening hours have been cut to 10am-2pm Monday to Friday, and to 9am-12pm on Saturdays.
Branches had previously opened from 9am to 5pm Monday to Friday and from 9am to 3pm on Saturdays.
Nationwide will also no longer open its doors an hour early at 8am for elderly and vulnerable customers.
You can check the status of your local Nationwide branch here.
According to NatWest’s website, most of its branches are open during core hours from 10am-1pm.
But it advises to check its service status page for any changes.
It is also offering customers an expansion of their credit limit and a loan payment deferral, as well as payment breaks for up to three months on mortgages.
Royal Bank of Scotland
Royal Bank of Scotland says most of its branches are operating with reduced hours Monday to Friday, from 10am to 1pm.
Santander is continuing to offer its usual service to customers through the usual channels, including online banking and in store.
It says most stores will remain open, although some have temporarily closed due to staff sickness.
All 50 university branches have also been closed.
Most other open branches will operate reduced opening hours from 10am to 2pm and will be closed on Saturdays.
This is subject to change so check online first before making any journeys.
They were previously open from 9.30am to 5pm Monday to Friday, and 9.30am to either 12.30pm or 4.00pm on Saturdays.
You can find out the status of your local branch here.
TSB has also temporarily closed some of its 500 UK branches, while a number of others have seen their opening hours temporarily reduced.
Monday to Friday (or whichever weekdays a branch is usually open) branches will now open from 10am to 4pm, and they’ll be closed from 12.30pm to 1.30pm to clean the branch.
Check with your nearest bank first, as the hours are subject to change.
None of TSB’s branches will now be open on Saturdays or Sundays.
Visit its website for the full details and to use its branch finder tool.
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How to avoid coronavirus fraud
Banks are reminding customers to watch out for a variety of coronavirus fraud schemes that have spread on the internet.
These schemes include a fake “map” which claims to show the spread of coronavirus but then allows hackers to hijack your gadgets.
If downloaded, it allows cyber crooks to look at your location and photos and possibly spy on you through your camera.
Several fake “diagnosis” scams and hoaxes are doing the rounds online and WhatsApp has been targeted too with text hoaxes spreading like wildfire.
Instagram has already banned rogue coronavirus filters that claim to “diagnose” your condition.
And any tools that promise to test you for coronavirus online should not be trusted.
How is the government helping with your finances?
This would cover 80 per cent of staff salaries up to £2,500 a month for those who are kept on by their employer but are unable to work.
The payment relates to gross pay and will be backdated to March 1, lasting for an initial period of three months, but will be extended “if necessary”.
All UK businesses are eligible for the scheme.
Self-employed workers will also get paid up to £2,500 to help cover their coronavirus losses.
The package will target the emergency help at low and middle earners, but only from June.
Brits earning up to £50,000 will be able to get up to 80 per cent of that back.
The average self-employed Brit will get £940 a month worth of help, Treasury sources estimated.
Only Brits who filed a tax return in 2019 will be able to take part.