NatWest, Royal Bank of Scotland and Ulster bank have followed the example set by Starling Bank in launching a companion card which vulnerable customers can give to trusted people to pay for their groceries or other essential items.
To enhance security, the 'carers card' - which can be topped up with £100 every five days - will be associated with the customer’s existing bank account but kept separate on the bank’s systems. The card does not share a PIN or long card number with the customer’s existing debit cards and ATM withdrawals are restricted to £50.
Starling Bank was first to introduce a spare card for vulnerable individuals, launching its 'Connected card' earlier this month. Protected by a PIN and with a balance limit of £200, the card only permits users to spend in-store and not online.
RBS, NatWest and Ulster are claiming a banking first by offering vulnerable customers and those in extended isolation a fee-free cash delivery service to their door, with almost £250,000 delivered to around 750 customers to date since 25 March. Additionally, customers can request a ‘Get Cash’ code that enables a trusted third-party to make ATM withdrawals up to £100 on someone’s behalf from any of the banks' cash amchines.
Les Matheson, CEO, personal banking at NatWest says: "We are committed to finding innovative solutions that keep our customers safe and able to pay for the things they need, when they need them - whether that’s digitally via our app, via this new card, or through cash."