NatWest, Royal Bank of Scotland and Ulster Bank have announced the introduction of a new ‘companion card’ – a supplement to their existing current accounts that will enable vulnerable customers and those in extended isolation to give trusted volunteers a way to pay for their essential goods.
The card can by topped up by up to £100 every 5 days and given to a trusted person or carer to enable them to make purchases on behalf of the individual. To enhance security, the carers card 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, as well as being subject to fraud monitoring systems.
The move is the latest in a series of innovations that NatWest, Royal Bank and Ulster Bank have introduced in response to the coronavirus crisis to protect vulnerable customers and enhance their ability to pay for essentials while protecting themselves.
The banks are also the first in the UK to offer 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 25th 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 NatWest, Royal Bank (in Scotland) or Ulster Bank NI ATMs.
Welcoming the launch, Les Matheson, CEO, Personal Banking at NatWest said: ‘Tackling issues around access to finance can be difficult for some. But 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.’
‘We will continue to listen to and be guided by our customers in introducing services that meet their needs and provide meaningful help.’
Customers can access either the cash delivery service or enquire about a Companion Card by phoning:
NatWest’s dedicated vulnerable customer lines on 0800 051 4176.
Royal Bank of Scotland’s dedicated vulnerable customer lines on 0800 051 4177
Ulster Bank’s dedicated vulnerable customer lines on 0800 092 4238
Relay UK: 18001 03457 242424
Customers using these lines can access a full range of normal banking services