My Money Matters is a publication developed to help organisations understand how to correctly handle the money of people with a learning disability.
After this was completed it became clear that some people were finding it difficult to open bank accounts.
We worked with people with a learning disability in England, Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland to find out how to make it easier to use a bank account. 113 people with a learning disability visited 153 banks unannounced, they explored what services, facilities and assistance the banks offered and observed how the staff interacted with them.
We found out:
- What you want to use your bank account for
- What makes it hard to open a bank account, and what do you need to know so you can open and use a bank account
- What help you need and what help you can already get
- What the bank says you must show them to prove who you are
- What the law says banks must do to make banking safe for everyone
- What people who work in banks need to know about how to help people with a learning disability
- The law says banks must treat disabled people fairly. We want to know what that means.
- What help your carers or support workers need to understand more about banking
A written report from over 160 people with a learning disability supplemented the findings.
Meetings were held to share the information.
Most researchers found physical access straightforward, and help from staff was often available.
Proving identity in order to open a bank account was potentially problematic, as staff had different views on what would be considered acceptable.
The researchers especially valued staff who conversed directly with them, rather than with their supporter. Overall, most had a good experience when visiting the banks, although 21 per cent had a bad experience.
Banks need to consistently communicate to both staff and customers what documents are needed to prove ID.
Banks should improve staff awareness of the difficulties people with a learning disability face, and the facilities banks already have that may help them.
Over 150 banks were visited by people with a learning disability throughout the UK to research the problems individuals have opening a bank account. Over 150 additional stories have been collected which identify both good and bad banking experiences.
There was a meeting in Glasgow to enable the 20 Scottish researchers to present their findings to people interested in banking issues and look at how we can make positive changes.
Since the Banking Matters to Me project finished we have used the information gathered to create the Banking Matters to Me Easy Read Guide and have continued working to promote financial inclusion with the Making Money Easier project.
The Banking Matters to Me project was funded by the Friends Provident Foundation.