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145 million fund could help more people find bank accounts

18 October2012

The government will set aside a 145 million fund to help more people get access to bank accounts, according to The Guardian.

At the Conservative party conference in Birmingham, government minister Lord Freud said the fund would subsidise financial inclusion schemes to help the most vulnerable members of society.

The government has approached financial institutions to help develop products like 'jam jar' bank accounts, which help account holders to budget by keeping money for essential bills separate from spending money.

It is part of the move towards the 'universal credit' benefits scheme, which will replace a number of existing benefits including unemployment benefit, income support, child tax credit and working tax credit. The government claims it will simplify the benefits system.

In 2010, it was estimated that some 850,000 people in the UK live in households without access to a bank account. This poses all kinds of practical problems: people without bank accounts generally pay more on their bills (because they can't get direct debit discounts), can only receive their earnings by cash-in-hand, and are missing out on the security of keeping their money locked away.

And it seems that many of these people feel they simply can't get a bank account - perhaps after being rejected by multiple banks. This can particularly affect people who have been made bankrupt in the past, with very few account providers willing to help them.

But there are options for people who are struggling to find an account, says an expert at All About Money. "People with a poor credit rating may have trouble getting an account, but it's really just a matter of knowing where to look. There are accounts that don't run a credit check, and therefore may be available even to undischarged bankrupts.

"For example, the thinkmoney Personal account is an alternative to a basic bank account that doesn't require a credit check, and helps account holders manage their finances."

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