It was announced last week that Bank of Ireland has introduced a carers’ debit card to provide a safe and secure way for trusted relatives and friends or other designated carers to manage the day-to-day living expenses of those who are in their care.
Bank of Ireland says the Carers’ Card gives parents and carers controlled access to the accounts of the person they are looking after. The new card is an initiative of the Bank’s Vulnerable Customer Unit (VCU), which provides enhanced banking support for customers in vulnerable circumstances.
The VCU say the Carers' Card was developed after handling multiple cases where carers faced obstacles in managing the money and expenses of Bank of Ireland customers they are looking after. In the absence of formal arrangements such as power of attorney, it can often be difficult for carers to access cash for day-to-day expenses.
To provide transparency and protection for both the carer and the customer, the card bears the carer’s initials as well as the customer’s name and has built-in safeguards such as limits on cash withdrawals and daily monitoring by the Vulnerable Customer Unit. The Carers’ Card is an optional feature of the Bank’s Vulnerable Customer Account.
Commenting on the initiative, Chief Executive of Bank of Ireland’s Retail Ireland division, Gavin Kelly said, "When COVID-19 happened we prioritised cocooning supports and other initiatives that addressed an immediate need for our vulnerable customers. However, we had already challenged ourselves to solve a problem which predates the pandemic and will persist afterwards. Carers provide our customers with invaluable emotional and physical support but it’s often difficult for them to help with managing day-to-day living expenses. We think the Carer’s Card is a really practical solution that helps our customers and their carers while providing protection and transparency to both."
Executive Director at Sage Advocacy, Mervyn Taylor added, "Sage Advocacy welcomes this initiative by Bank of Ireland. We have long been concerned about the safeguarding aspects of informal arrangements whereby a family member and / or a carer effectively ends up controlling the finances of vulnerable adults. Carefully controlled access to accounts overseen by specially trained bank staff is a positive development."