Ulster Bank has announced the introduction of a new ‘companion card’ – a supplement to their existing current account that will enable vulnerable customers and those in extended isolation to give trusted volunteers a way to pay for their essential goods.

The Companion Card can be topped up by up to £100 and given to a trusted person or carer to enable them to make purchases on behalf of the individual. To enhance security, the carers card will be associated with the customer’s existing bank account but kept separate on the bank’s systems. The card does not share a PIN or long card number with the customer’s existing debit cards and ATM withdrawals are restricted to £50, as well as being subject to Ulster Bank’s fraud monitoring systems.

The move is the latest in a series of innovations that Ulster Bank has introduced in response to the coronavirus crisis to protect vulnerable customers and enhance their ability to pay for essentials while protecting themselves.

The bank also offers vulnerable customers and those in extended isolation a fee-free cash delivery service to their door. Additionally, customers can request a ‘Get Cash’ code that enables a trusted third-party to make ATM withdrawals up to £100 on someone’s behalf from any NatWest, Royal Bank or Ulster Bank NI ATM.