Home Directory Banking and Payments Federation Ireland (BPFI) Dedicated phonelines for cocooning and vulnerable bank customers set up by five retail banks

Dedicated phonelines for cocooning and vulnerable bank customers set up by five retail banks

BPFI publishes guide on day-to-day banking to help those required to stay at home manage their money in a safe way

Banking & Payments Federation Ireland (BPFI) has today announced that all five retail banks now have dedicated freephone phonelines to assist cocooning customers during the Covid-19 crisis. The dedicated phonelines, along with advice on how best to conduct day-to-day banking if you are required to stay at home are included in a special Covid-19 Information Guide being launched by the BPFI today.

The guide gives essential banking advice for those cocooning which includes details on:

  • Over the phone and online banking options
  • Making payments over the phone
  • Calling your bank, and
  • Getting help with your banking
  • Tips for keeping your money safe

Speaking about both these initiatives, Brian Hayes, BPFI CEO, said: “With close to 10% of the population over 70 years of age, banks recognise the serious challenges now faced by customers who are being advised to cocoon and who may be in vulnerable circumstances. The main retail banks (AIB, Bank of Ireland, KBC, permanent tsb and Ulster Bank)  are now acting to assist these customers during Covd-19 and have set up dedicated phonelines ensuring calls from this cohort of customers are prioritised and that any of their concerns in relation to managing their daily banking can be addressed.

In addition, BPFI has today published a special information guide providing practical advice for cocooning customers on the various ways in which they can manage their day-to-day banking and finances in a safe way while they stay at home. Brian Hayes said: “We encourage the use of online and phone banking as well as card payments as much as possible in the current environment given the convenience and security these methods offer. For a small cohort of customers, these may not be feasible options and therefore all retail banks have put in place the possibility for such customers to get help accessing their cash. There are very strict protocols in place around this facility to ensure the potential for financial abuse is minimised and that it allows customers keep control of their money.”  

As well as providing information on banking options, the guide also outlines a number of tips around how customers can keep their money safe. This includes advice such as avoiding keeping large sums of cash at home and making and paying for orders such as medicines with a card over the phone where possible. Importantly, the guide also highlights that if a customer is worried about the management of their money they should call their bank via the dedicated phonelines in the guide as frontline bank staff are trained to deal empathetically with customers to help ensure their wishes are followed.

BPFI will be working with Safeguarding Ireland and ALONE, the organisation that supports older people, in the coming weeks to share awareness of issues that may arise for vulnerable customers and to ensure the leaflet reaches as many impacted customers as possible. BPFI is calling on all those working in the community to share the information leaflet. BPFI is also conducting a social media campaign to promote the leaflet nationwide and to highlight the importance of sharing it with those who can benefit from the information in it. A copy of the leaflet is available on BPFI’s website www.safeguardyourmoney.ie

09/04/2020

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