As the Covid-19 pandemic forces millions to self-isolate, payments firm Contis has developed a programme to enable vulnerable people to safely give carers access to their money.
According to a recent UCL study, in the UK alone, eight million people are vulnerable to the coronavirus due to conditions such as diabetes, obesity and heart problems and will need shielding for an indefinite period of time.
This means that carers will continue to have to help people with their shopping, opening up the possibility of fraud. According to the Money and Mental Health Policy Institute, 52% of carers know a vulnerable person's PIN; 27% have used the other person's contactless card and 23% know their online banking password.
Some UK banks, including Starling and the RBS group, have reacted to Covid-19 by introducing companion cards which vulnerable customers can give to trusted people to pay for their groceries or other essential items.
However, Contis argues that a more comprehensive solution is needed. It has developed a 'Carer Banking' programme for banks and credit unions.
Nominated carers can complete an online identity check and order the card to their own address to avoid physical contact with vulnerable people. Physical cards can also be connected to a virtual card for online and mobile contactless payments.
Meanwhile, the programme can be set up with merchant controls, instant card freeze and spend limits as well as transaction monitoring enabled by Contis' skinnable mobile app.
Andy Patton, chief commercial officer, Contis, says: "We're helping clients adapt their businesses to the new economy as their customers' needs change. Our new products help companies get funds safely to those in need and support vulnerable customers to shop and pay for essentials."