New research from the Money and Mental Health Policy Institute reveals mental health carers are using risky workarounds for people they care for because of lack of support from banks.

New research shows carers are taking financial risks for individuals they care for

16.4 million people know someone else's PIN number - nearly 1 in 3 people in the UK. This is even more common for carers, who support individuals who need help with finances.

The Institute's research found:

  • 52% of mental health carers know someone else's PIN
  • 27% of carers have used someone else's contactless card
  • 23% of carers know someone else's online banking passwords

Individuals with mental health issues often have carers who can help with budgeting, paying bills, limiting spending, and communicating with banks. Lack of support from banks means carers often have to take risks to be able to assist the people they care for.

The Money and Mental Health Policy Institute researches and develops policies for financial services to help individuals with mental health issues to protect themselves from financial difficulties.

The current banking system doesn't allow safe, controlled ways for carers to provide financial support. The Money and Mental Health Policy Institute is calling for new tools, including:

  • Read-only access: Account holders should be entitled to grant real time, read-only access to a carer or trusted friend on any account.
  • Notifications: Account holders should be entitled to request notifications of specific activities on their account(s) be sent to a carer or trusted friend.
  • Restrictions: Account holders should be able to delegate the authority to make some kinds of account decisions or transactions to a trusted friend or carer.

Polly Mackenzie, Director of the Money and Mental Health Policy Institute said:

"At the moment the banks are failing to recognise the essential role many carers play in supporting those they care for to stay on top of their finances. Without safe, practical tools, carers and those with mental health problems are being forced into risky workarounds just to get by. We are calling on the banks to stop turning a blind eye to the harm that’s being caused, and to develop tools and systems that recognise that shared financial management is a part of many of our lives.”

Read the full Strength in Numbers report from the Money and Mental Health Policy Institute

Read the Royal College of Psychiatrists 'Carers and confidentiality in mental health' information