This is a guide only for the COVID-19 Pandemic emergency. Please also refer to your bank for safe use of your money and accounts.
If you are isolated due to the Coronavirus then at some point you may need someone to get supplies on your behalf. If you do need to give money to someone you will be doing it at your own risk, but there are some ideas for how to minimise the financial risks.
For online payments you will need to use your bank card or credit card but there are other payment mechanisms you might consider if you need assistance from others to collect or purchase items on your behalf:
(i) Digital Bank Cards – These work like normal bank cards but you can limit the amount that is spent just like a ‘Top up’ Prepaid card (see below). You will need to check which provider you prefer, but examples include Starling, Monzo, Revolut.
(ii) Get a Prepaid Card – These cards can make purchases online and in shops like a normal debit or credit card. The difference is that you just ‘top up’, like TfL Oyster Cards, the amount that can be spent on the card. You simply top up the card with the amount of money you want to spend. Search online for Prepaid cards to find different providers and their terms and conditions.
If you are able, then please use the online delivery services of retailer. You may need to plan this well in advance, as deliver services are currently extremely busy.
- Ask delivery people to knock on your door and then leave the items outside.
- Do not let people inside your home.
- Wash your hands thoroughly (min. 20 secs) after receiving and handling any deliveries.
Click & Collect Services
You order online and get someone (friend/relative/neighbour/volunteer) to collect it for you. Ask them to follow the same process for receiving online deliveries.
Giving Cash or Card for Someone Else to Spend
This should be avoided wherever possible, but we are in an emergency situation and if your only other option is to risk others by going outside then you may have to consider giving a card or money to someone.
The first people you should ask are obviously trusted family members, friends and neighbours. However, if you don’t have anyone you know that could help, please get in contact with SO:Linked and one of our team members will be able to link you up with a local volunteer or organisation that can help:
Help from a local charity or community group
A number of local community organisations may also be able to provide a DBS checked volunteer to help you.
If you do not know/trust the person then we recommend one or more of the following:
a) Limit the amount you give someone just in the rare case they steal it. Options include:
- Online transfer – transfer the money you want to spend to the person who will purchase on your behalf (Paypal, bank transfer) so there is a record of the transaction.
- Limit the amount on the card – for example with a digital or prepaid card, only top it up with the amount you actually need to be spent.
- Contactless – If you do choose to give someone your card then they will be able to make contactless payments (i.e. no PIN is needed) up to £30, if you have set up contactless payment on your card.
- Sharing your PIN – We strongly advise that you do NOT do this
- Cash – keep amounts small and wash hands and money to avoid transferring virus. £5 and £10 notes are much easier to wash and clean than £20 notes.
b) Ask to hold onto their ID whilst they do purchases for you.This way you have something to identify them with and a reason for them to return. However, please keep this carefully and do not share any information about the person to others, except if they run off.
c) Take their photo.It may seem a bit awkward, but an honest person will understand why you want to do this.
For local organisations providing volunteers
Make sure volunteers have a copy of your volunteer handbook and have confirmed they understand and will comply with this. Apply your existing Volunteer, Health & Safety, Safeguarding and Data Protection Policies.
If you are asked to provide a volunteer to help with shopping or other task that involves any form of financial transaction and/or requires the volunteer to enter the person’s home – the advice is:
- These tasks should only be undertaken by volunteers with a current DBS check.
- Volunteers must provide the customer with a form of photo-id for the client, such as a passport or driving license.
- Organisations who can, should also provide volunteers with an ID badge. A letter on headed paper might suffice, confirming that the bearer is a volunteer from your organisation.
- Give the client the volunteers name and gender, and the approximate time they will be arriving.
- If the volunteer is taking the clients bank card or cash in order to purchase shopping (before going to purchase it), they should offer to leave their photo ID with the client until they have delivered the shopping.
- Inform the client what form of identification the volunteer will provide and tell them that the volunteer will offer to leave this with them until they have delivered the shopping.
- Volunteers must collect and provide the user with a receipt.
- Ask the volunteer and the client to contact you (or you can call them) after the support has be provided to confirm that all went well.
- Keep a clear record – the client and the volunteer, the transaction and confirmation that both parties have reported that all is well.