For years I have struggled to manage my finances for myself; by that I don’t mean keep track of spending etc. I mean the actual physical side of banking, you know how someone gives you a cheque for your birthday and you have to go into your bank branch to pay it in? (because in some, if not all banks now no one else can pay it in for you) How you need some cash to pay for things/pay people back for things but are physically unable to get to an ATM? That’s the side of my finances that has been a struggle.

It wasn’t until recently that I learned banks actually offer a service to help you with this kind of thing. I know I became housebound as a kid, just before I hit my teens, but becoming housebound, chronically ill or disabled doesn’t come with a handbook which tells you everything that’s there to help you. (Or at least if it does I’ve missed out on that particular read!) It’s only when someone suggested it for an elderly relative of mine that it occurred to me to at the very least look into it, if not get it sorted for myself too; if I could that is.

Banks, in the UK at least, offer something known as Third Party Authority. Which allows you to give a person you trust access to your account; you can pick which services they are allowed to manage when you set it up; usually the options are a debit card for the account, telephone banking and online banking. Meaning that you no longer have to struggle to make that phone call, or go into branch yourself to deal with any financial matters that arise, instead the person you have delegated authority to can do so for you.

As I say it’s something I didn’t realise existed, something which would have been handy to have set up for myself years ago. But it’s only during this strange year of 2020 that I have actually done it. I don’t know whether it varies between banks, but I had the choice to set it up via phone, video call (if I had the mobile app) or in branch. Despite the pandemic I opted to do so in branch; phone calls are not my strong point, particularly when the chances are it would take a while to get through, so I figured I might as well use a similar amount of energy and go into the branch, getting some fresh air on the way!

I had to wait a little while when I got to the bank as it was quite busy, and with COVID-secure measures in place they can only have a certain number of people in the branch. But it probably wasn’t much longer than 30 minutes; they took my mobile number and phoned me just before they were ready for me meaning we could go have a wander round or cup of coffee while we waited for a member of staff to become available to help us.

Once in there, it took all of fifteen, maybe twenty minutes to get it all set up. Okay, so by “all set up” I mean all the forms filled out and details taken; the member of staff did all the form filling, we just had to check it all over before signing them. It then takes a few days to go through their accessibility team and the appropriate details to be sent to the person with delegated authority (by that I mean login details for online banking or a debit card and pin number, depending on which services you’ve opted to allow).

But from there on things should be a little easier being housebound. And anything that makes life even a tiny bit easier when you’re unwell is a good thing.

I wish I’d known about this years ago. It would have made life so much easier! That’s why I thought I’d blog about it; if this post makes just one person aware of this option then it’ll have been worth writing. Although perhaps I’m unique in not having known about this prior to recently? Perhaps there’s some sort of search I should have done when I became housebound which would have highlighted this as an option for someone who has become housebound? Anyway, hindsight is a wonderful thing and maybe now I’ll go looking for what other help is available and you never know I might just blog about something else I find….watch this space!

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