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Tips on safely managing money for the less mobile

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Handing over a bank card to someone else is a breach of Ts&Cs. So how can those with limited mobility withdraw cash and manage money? Helen Doyle, Head of Policy & Research at the Payments Council, offers some advice.

Managing finances can be tricky at the best of times, but imagine finding yourself unable to get to the cash point with limited access to internet banking or a mobile phone to make payments.

For many older people with mobility issues, illness or disabilities this is the reality they’re facing.

Payments Council research shows that three quarters of people who need help when making payments are handing over their bank cards and PIN to someone else to make payments on their behalf because they’re unaware of the other, safer options available.

This not only leaves them at risk of fraud, because you never know in whose hands these details will end up, but also means they are breaching the terms and conditions of their bank account.

We now have more choice than ever about how we make payments and manage our money without needing to share confidential information. As carers, friends and relatives, it’s important that we not only understand the options available but are passing this information on so those in our care can, where possible, manage their payments independently or if not, delegate them safely.

The Payments Council wants to remind consumers of the many easier and, importantly, safer ways, listed below, to make payments when you need help from someone else. This will help your parents, elderly relatives and friends stay in control and make budgeting and managing money both easier and speedier.

Do they really need to delegate payments?

First consider whether the person in your care needs to allow someone else to make payments on their behalf.

When it comes to paying for bills and shopping, there are more ways than ever to choose from. Telephone banking, internet banking and mobile banking make it possible to make payments from the comfort of your home, without having to give anyone else access to your account.

Other payment methods such as direct debits, cheques and debit or credit card payments, by phone or online, are also helpful. Contact their bank or building society for further information.

What next?

If they do need someone to help them make payments, take time at the outset to consider the options below as well as the person who your parent, relative or friend would like to make payments on their behalf.

The most important thing is that they trust whoever will be acting on their behalf.

It is also worth knowing that payment methods can be adapted if their needs and requirement change. For example, if they find it hard to use a PIN machine, they can use a chip and signature card, which prompts retailers for a signature instead of a PIN entry.

What do they need?

Someone to get cash as a one-off

  • At the bank counter: They can instruct their bank in writing to allow a one-off cash withdrawal over the counter at the bank. The person they ask will need to take official ID and a letter of consent.
  • At a cash machine: Some banks can issue a one-off code that allows a certain amount of cash to be withdrawn at a cash machine without a card. A lot of banks have services such as Talking ATMs and ATMs with Braille, helping people with sight loss to withdraw cash independently.

Someone to make payments and get cash from their main account for a limited time

Options:

  • Third party delegation: They can contact their bank to specify a trusted individual who they want to have access to their main account, pay bills for them and get cash out.
  • Post Office Card Account (POCA): POCA holders can get a second card for someone else to collect their money for them. Local Post Offices will be able to tell them what to do to set this up.

Someone to make payments and get cash for them on a regular basis, without access to their account

  • A second account: They can ask their bank to open a second account for them and the person who they want to be able to withdraw funds on their behalf. The account can be set up so that it only holds the funds that they want another person to access. Some banks can link this to their main current account without giving the other account holder main account access.
  • Prepaid card: They can buy a prepaid card (sometimes called “pre-loaded”) and give it to someone else to use to shop and pay bills on their behalf. Some cards can be used wherever debit and credit cards are accepted; others can only be used in specific stores.

Someone to have longer term access or to manage their accounts

  • A joint account: They could open a bank account with someone they trust, where both parties have full access to the account. This will mean that they are jointly responsible for the funds or any debts linked to the account.
  • Lasting Power of Attorney: This is a legal and binding way of handing over complete management of finances to someone else. They will need to contact the Office of the Public Guardian or a solicitor to obtain further details and to set this up. If they do this, they must inform their bank.

Where to go for further information

There are many options when it comes to making payments safely on someone else’s behalf, so for further information and to read the advice guide on “Managing Payments” please visit PayYourWay.org.uk or pick up a copy from your local Citizens Advice. Banks and building societies will also be able to help further.

If you found this article you useful you may like to download our free Finances and Legal guides to learn more about Power of Attorney and the Court of Protection.

You may also like to read:

Further information on managing your parents’ affairs

Myths about Lasting Power of Attorney

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