Banking and shopping when you’re out
If you have difficulty using cash machines and card readers,
don’t assume that your only choice is to stop using
There may be ways to help you access them. Banks, building
societies, shops and other organisations must take reasonable
steps to help you, so don’t be afraid to ask what’s
available, or to request things that you know are available.
Anyone who struggles to use a chip and PIN card for any reason
can get a chip and signature card. When you go tithe till
at a shop and put your chip and signature card in the card
reader, it will ask you for a signature rather than a PIN.
If your bank or building society won’t let you have
one, make a complaint.
Contactless technology, which lets you pay for cheaper items
without entering your PIN, is becoming more common. If you
spend less than £20 in a shop you may be able to pay
by waving your card over the touch point.
There are many kinds of special equipment available for people
with visual and hearing impairments. You can request bank
statements in large print or other formats that are easier
to read. PIN keypads in shops should have a raised locator
bump on the number five to help you find the other numbers
on the keypad.
For more information about the different products and equipment
available, contact the Royal National Institute of Blind People
(RNIB) or Action on Hearing Loss.
What Next? - Protecting yourself Banking and shopping from
Telephone and internet (online) services allow you to do
your banking and shopping at home, making them ideal if you
find it hard to get out.
Online banking can be a good way to keep control of your finances
from your home. Even if someone else is helping you with your
finances, it’s a good idea to check your balance regularly,
and it’s possible to do this via the internet.
You can set up regular and one-off bill payments using your
bank’s online or telephone service.
Most banks and building societies have a 24-hour telephone
service that you can access using a security number.
If you’re hard of hearing, you can get a telephone
with an in-built amplifier. If you have arthritis or other
conditions which result in joint pain, it could be worthwhile
getting a special telephone with big buttons.
Shopping online can be convenient. Some people worry about
paying with a debit or credit card over the internet, but
it’s possible to shop safely online. However, you should
look out for certain features on the website before putting
in your payment details.
For more information, see our free guides Internet security;
Making the most of the internet and your consumer rights.
If you would like to know more about how to use the internet,
ask your local Age UK for help – many offer training
sessions and advice on getting online.
UK Online Centres help people who want to learn simple computer
skills (see page 34). Your local library might also offer
If you look after your partner, or a relative or friend who
needs help because they are ill or disabled, then you are
a carer. The main welfare benefit for carers is called Carer's
Allowance. You get £59.75 a week.
To qualify for Carer's Allowance, you must:
• Spend at least 35 hours a week caring for a disabled
person. It doesn't matter whether or not you live with them
• Care for someone who receives the higher or middle
rate care component of Disability Living Allowance, either
rate of Personal Independence Payment daily living component,
or any rate of Attendance Allowance.
• Not earn more than £100 a week (after deductions)
• not be in full-time education.
If you are under pension age, you will also get National
Insurance credits each week towards your pension.
Carer's Allowance may not be paid if you are receiving a
State Pension or certain other benefits. However‚ it
may be a good idea to apply anyway because you could get extra
Pension Credit and/or Housing Benefit.
If you're claiming Universal Credit, you may be able to get
an extra amount because of your caring role, without having
to apply for Carer's Allowance. This is known as a carer element.
However, if you are ill or disabled, you will only be entitled
to a carer element or a disability element - not both.
Carer’s Allowance can sometimes continue for short
periods if you or the person you care for goes into hospital,
or if you have a break from caring.
How to claim Carer's Allowance
Call the Carer's Allowance Unit on 0845 608 4321 (textphone:
0845 604 5312) to request a claim form.
You can also download a form or make a claim online on the
(The above information was taken from AGE UK website (apologies
for any misquotes))