1. Bank accounts are essential. Without one you can’t receive wages from most legitimate employers, apply for benefits, or pay bills.
2. If your loved one is in prison, this is an ideal opportunity for them to open an account, especially if they’ve not got suitable identification. Lots of prisons offer schemes that can provide a proof of a prisoner’s identification to a local bank.
3. Your loved one can find out whether their establishment has a banking arrangement in place by asking their key worker, or by putting in a general application. The prison should then be able to provide them with the necessary forms. This process can take a while, so applications should be made in the months prior to release.
4. If you’ve just been released from prison on license, or know someone who will be, Probation might also be able to help. They may be able to provide a letter saying who you are and where you live, which some banks will accept as ID. Your Probation Officer may also be able to help you obtain other forms of ID, like a Pass Card or a Driving License.
5. Banks have a responsibility to open basic accounts for anybody, even if you’ve got a poor credit rating. However, if you’ve been convicted of a fraud offence the bank might have to risk assess you, and your application may be denied. If this is the case, there may be other options available to you. For more more advice contact Unlock, an independent advice charity for people with convictions.