Money and banking
Getting access to money may become challenging for people staying indoors, whether they are shielded or self-isolating.
Below are some scenarios that have been described by Camden residents.
Contact Camden Council's COVID-19 Helpline if after reading the scenarios below you need further help with accessing money
Telephone helpine: 020 7974 4444 (option 9)
Scenario - " I have no money"
- call Camden COVID-19 Helpline – 020 7974 4444 (option 9). Also, check the council's key announcements in response to coronavirus, which are updated daily
- the council’s Local Welfare Assistance Scheme provide grants to pay for essential items if you are in crisis. Find out more by phoning the COVID-19 Helpline 020 7974 4444 (option 9).
- Adult Social Care can provide Welfare Benefits Support in non-emergencies if you are an older, vulnerable and person isolated at home. A Camden staff will need to make a referral. To be referred, contact Adult Social Care Access and Support team on 020 7974 4000 (select option 1). Further information about benefits is available in the Money Advice section.
Scenario - "I usually collect my benefits from the Post Office (I do not have a bank account)"
- Department of Work and Pensions (DWP) and the Post Office have launched a cash benefits delivery Service. Post Office Card account holders who receive benefits and are staying at home (and on the government’s Shielding List) can benefit from this scheme to receive cash via the Royal Mail at home, direct from the DWP. The DWP or National Shielding Service should be contact people directly.
- through the Post Office people can nominate somebody as a Permanent Agent – this person would have full access to the Post Office account and therefore needs to be a family member, close friend or trusted supporter. First, this person would need to collect Form P6163 from the Post Office to apply
- further details about nominating somebody as a Permanent Agent is available at https://www.postoffice.co.uk/post-office-card-account
Scenario - " I usually go to the Post Office but I also have a bank account"
- Post Office accounts are not versatile. Those who also have a bank account can contact the Department for Work and Pensions (DWP – the department that pays the relevant benefit) and have the benefit (any one whole benefit) paid into the bank account instead of their Post Office Card Account. Please be aware that this is not temporary. Once this arrangement is in place a formal application is needed to change it back later.
- some things to consider about using a bank account and debit card are that it may be more versatile than a Post Office account for ordering goods and making payments. Each bank may be able to help and should be contacted directly. Some banks are being more flexible about supporting customers to access cash and can issue once-only codes to allow others to collect cash for you from the Post office or bank. The Ask-a-Friend scheme enables people to contact the bank and arrange for cash to be collected by a friend, family member or supporter.
Scenario - "I do not have a bank account but I want one"
- it is possible to open a bank account online or over the telephone but you may be required to provide photographic identification and proof of address and it may not be straight forward
- a decision needs to be made about which bank to open an account with. It is important to find support if possible. There are websites such as https://www.moneysupermarket.com/current-accounts/opening-a-bank-account/ that offer detailed bank account comparisons
- Money Carer offers a bank account service. They have created an Assisted Bank Account directly in response to the current COVID-19 situation. They also charge an initial account set up fee of £55 and a fixed monthly fee of £6.50. Money Carer also offer a Carer Card which allows money to be loaded over the telephone onto a prepaid card.
- further details about Money Carer’s bank account service is at https://www.moneycarer.org.uk/services/assisted-bank-account-service
Scenario - "I want somebody to collect cash for me"
- wherever possible avoid handling cash if somebody else is shopping and paying for things on your behalf. It is important not to give out your debit cards or PIN numbers under any circumstances. Bank transfers or cheque payments are a possibility. There is information in the Food and shopping section about ways to shop without cash.
- if you are relying on somebody to collect money for you try to make sure that this is somebody you know well and trust
- you can explore ways of paying for things over the phone or online that the person supporting you could collect. For example, some supermarkets can now have Volunteer Shopping Cards which allows a volunteer (eg. family or friends) to do your shopping in store and pay using the Shopping Card. The Shopping Card is similar to an e-gift card that you can buy online. Supermarkets that have introduced the volunteer shopping card include Asda, Co-op, Sainsbury’s, and Waitrose
The link below provides contact details, information about banks and how they are each operating during COVID-19. Direct contact with the bank is advised.
Many banks are encouraging customers to use Apps and mobile banking for payments. Most of the banks are simply saying ‘phone us for advice’, while some are trying to identify those who they know will be more vulnerable including those customers who regularly go to a branch.
When somebody offers you support:
- do not accept an offer from someone who turns up on your doorstep
- don't feel pressured to accept help from a stranger
- don’t hand over money to someone you don’t know who is offering to help you
- offers of help (not goods) should be free of charge
- if someone offers to do your shopping, ask for a receipt so you can pay them to cover the cost of the items
- don’t give anyone your bank card, even if you are running low on cash
Visit the doorstep safety and scams section for more information about keeping safe.
Visit the money advice section for more information about benefits and advice agencies.