BLOG: How would you make payments if you couldn’t visit your bank or ATM?

Written by: Helen Doyle, head of policy & research, Payments Council

Accident or illness could happen to anyone of us, yet less than half of people needing help to make payments know their safer options to stay in control of their financial affairs.

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 alternative, and importantly, safer options available. This not only leaves them at risk of fraud, because we never really know in whose hands these details will end up, but also means they are breaching the terms and conditions of their bank.

With ever more choice on how we make payments and manage our money including telephone banking, new technologies such as online banking and Paym are some of the other ways that give you more control over your finances from the comfort of your own home. Cheques, online/telephone card payments and direct debits, are also helpful as they minimise the need to travel to make a payment, perhaps negating the need for assistance completely if you need to make a payment but can’t visit your bank or cashpoint.

But there still may be instances where you may need someone to make a payment on your behalf. Below is the Payment’s Council’s latest advice on the safer alternatives to sharing your card and PIN, but for further detail on these options please visit or contact your local bank or building society.

I need…
1. Someone to get cash for me as a one-off

At the bank counter
You can instruct your bank in writing to allow a one-off cash withdrawal over the counter at the bank. The person you 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Some banks can issue a one-off code that allows a certain amount of cash to be withdrawn at a cash machine without a card.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.

2. Someone to make payments and get cash for me from my main account for a limited time

Third party delegation
You can contact your bank to specify a trusted individual who you want to have access to your main account, pay bills for you and get money out.

Post Office Card Account (POCA)
POCA holders can get a second card for someone else to collect their money for them. Your local Post Office will be able to tell you what to do to set this up.

3. Someone to make payments and get cash for me on a regular basis, without access to my account

A second account
You can ask your bank to open a second account for you and a person you trust, which only holds the funds that you want them to access. Some banks can link this to your main current account without giving the other account holder main account access.

Prepaid card
You can buy a prepaid card (sometimes called “pre-loaded”) and give it to someone else to use to shop and pay bills on your behalf. Some cards can be used wherever debit and credit cards are accepted; others can only be used in specific stores.

4. Someone to have longer term access or to manage my accounts

A joint account
You could open a bank account with a family member, or someone you trust, where you both have full access to the account.

Lasting Power of Attorney
This is a legal and binding way of handing over management of your finances completely to someone you trust. You will need to contact the Office of the Public Guardian or a solicitor to obtain further details and to set this up. If you do, be sure to inform your bank.

And finally: There are many options when it comes to making payments safely on someone else’s behalf, so for further information and to read our advice guide on ‘Managing Payments’ please visit or speak to your bank or building society.

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