Payment cards leaflet (pilot version)


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Payment cards leaflet (pilot version)

  1. 1. An introduction to your Essex County Council Payment CardA Payment Card is the easiest way for you to receive your Personal Budget (social carefunding) and to spend it on the services that meet your needs.The card works in a similar way to most bank debit cards, enabling you to purchase yoursupport where and when you want to, using your Personal Budget. The card itself isissued by Citi Bank.Payment Cards give you greater choice and control over your support. This might include;buying your care from an agency, paying for transport, leisure activities, support services,or to pay a Personal Assistant direct. Everything that you purchase with your PaymentCard will need to meet the needs stated in your agreed support plan.So what exactly is the Payment Card?Your Payment Card is a Visa card which has been loaded with the funds that you areeligible for from Essex County Council in your Personal Budget. It works like a debit cardbut is not a bank account and you will only be able to spend the amount which is loadedonto the card. It does not work like a credit card.Your Payment Card is a Chip and Pin card which can be used anywhere that accepts Visa– including for online purchases. The card is re-loadable with the amount we have agreedto pay you each month. You can use the card to make one-off or regular payments,depending on your personal needs and support plan.What your Payment Card can give you:  Choice – with the ability to choose from any provider accepting Visa, you’ll have a much greater choice over where to purchase your support  Control – you’ll be able to choose what you purchase and when with your Payment Card, giving you control over how you meet the needs in your support plan  Up to the minute information – you’ll be able to manage your account in a number of ways with access to real-time information about your spending and balance  Peace of mind – you’ll be protected by fraud monitoring and PIN protectionHow will it work?Essex County Council will send a request to Citi Bank to set up the card for you afteryou’ve completed a financial assessment and had your support plan agreed. Once thishas been completed, the request will be sent to Citi Bank, then your card will be then bedispatched to you. 1
  2. 2. When you receive your card, you’ll need to sign the back as you would any other debitcard. This will give you additional security and protection. If you are unable to sign yourcard, this is not an issue as your card is protected by Chip and Pin. If a retailer is unable touse Chip and Pin to verify your card (for example if their Chip reader is not working) thenyou will be asked for a form of identification to prove that the card is yours. If you areunable to sign your card, we recommend that you nominate a secondary cardholder who isable to sign their card.Your Personal Identification Numbers (PIN) will be sent to you separately, usually within 2-3 working days of receiving your card. You may change the PIN number to somethingmore memorable if you choose to.Your Payment Card will be loaded with funding every month in advance. This will happenelectronically and you will be advised of the payment dates.You’ll now be able to use the card in the following ways:  Pay for services using the chip and pin facility (including over the internet).  Pay for your support over the telephone with the card by using the ‘cardholder not present’ facility  Set up a recurring payment (available from April 6th 2012)  Electronic transfer of funds – for example into another account if you wish to combine this funding with other money (this can include funding sources from other public bodies, such as the Independent Living Fund or Access to Work)  In certain circumstances you will be able to withdraw cash from an ATM if it is necessary to purchase services which meet your eligible support needs (there is a minimum charge of £1.50 for each withdrawal, excluding the first withdrawal made after each time your card is loaded with funds – this does not include any charge which the ATM provider may make)  However you use your Payment Card, you will need to ensure that the services you purchase meet those needs stated in your agreed support plan.Getting information and support for using your Payment CardIf you think you will need support to manage the Payment Card, you will be able to requesta second card for a carer/guardian, a relative, or someone of your choice.You will be able to access a website,, followed by your name, forcardholders which will show you your account transaction history and balance informationin real-time, and can be printed at your convenience.This will also give easy access to the Terms of Use for the Payment Card and you’ll alsobe able to access a wide range of Frequently Asked Questions.Essex County Council’s Payment Card scheme is also supported by a 24/7 helpline,available in a number of different languages on 0203 027 1854. This will be provided by 2
  3. 3. Citi Bank Customer Services. You’ll be able to ask questions and get assistance withqueries that you might have.This support is designed to ensure that the Payment Card is convenient and easy to use.How will ECC ensure Payment Cards are safe and secure?Your Payment Card has been designed to ensure the utmost security of your PersonalBudget funds. Your card is protected by chip and PIN technology, and Essex CountyCouncil will be able to stop cards and recoup funds wherever it suspects fraudulent use.As with all your cards, you will need to keep both the card and your PIN number secure(please ensure you do not store these together).If your card has been lost or stolen, you will need to contact Citi Bank Customer Services(0203 027 1854) immediately, to report it and order a replacement. You will then be sent anew card and PIN. Any money remaining on the lost card will be transferred onto thereplacement card, minus an administration charge of £5.95.Essex County Council can view records for each Payment Card to ensure that funds arespent to meet the needs stated in your support plan.Some common questionsIf someone is helping me to manage my Payment Card, can a second card beissued? Will I have to pay for this?If you need someone else to help you manage your card, then it is possible to get asecond card for an additional cardholder to use. This option will be discussed with youwhen you start to plan your support following an assessment or review of your needs.No charge will be made for a second card. You are only able to obtain one additional card,and the additional cardholder must be over the age of 18.My Payment Card has an expiry date – does this mean I could lose any unspentfunds?Essex County Council’s Payment Cards are valid for 36 months from the date of issue.When your card is approaching it’s expiry date, you will be automatically sent a new cardabout a month in advance of your previous card expiring. Any unspent funds on that cardwill be transferred to the new card. Whilst your funds will not expire, Essex County Councilwill investigate any card which appears to be underused in order to ensure that the cardholder is using their card appropriately. Any surplus in your account of over 8 weeksmoney will be recovered from your account in accordance with our Personal Budgetagreement with you. 3
  4. 4. What happens if my personal details change?If you need to change your personal details (for example if your address changes), youshould let Citi Bank know by contacting their helpline on 0203 027 1854.What if I wish to cancel my Payment Card?If you wish to cancel your Payment Card you must tell Essex County Council as quickly aspossible. This will leave no immediate funds available to you to purchase support and youmay require a review to ensure that your eligible needs continue to be met.How do I shop online?Using your Payment Card to shop online is easy. Simply follow these steps:  Select the items you wish to purchase  Proceed to check out  Select Visa as payment option  Enter your 16 digit card number (on the front of your card) and the 3 digit security code if requested (located on the back of your card – this is the last three digits printed in the signature panel), and the card expiry dateWill I receive statements for my Payment Card?No. You will not receive regular statements for your Payment Card. However, thecardholder portal ( will show you your account transactionhistory and balance information in real-time, and can be printed at your convenience. Youcan also telephone Citi Bank Customer Services on 0203 027 1854 to access youraccount details.You can also access a computer and printing facilities at your local Essex Library (use ofthe internet is free however there will be a small charge for printing your statement).Are there any other fees associated with my Payment Card?No. This leaflet has already outlined the charge for making ATM withdrawals, and thecharge for the replacement of a lost or stolen card. There are no other charges for usingyour Payment Card.Can I transfer funds from other sources or my other accounts onto my PaymentCard?No. The Payment Card will be loaded with the funds that you are eligible for from EssexCounty Council in your Personal Budget. Essex County Council works closely with a rangeof other organisations to help join up the funding available to individuals, but at this time isunable to accept other funding onto the Payment Card. 4
  5. 5. Can I use my Payment Card for split payments? For example, can I split a purchasebetween my Payment Card and another account?Yes, and this process works the same as with any other split payment, because yourPayment Card is a Visa chip and pin card.Can I spend more than my available balance?No. If you do not have sufficient funds on your card for a purchase, your card will bedeclined. There is no credit available on the card and no overdraft facility.What happens if I try to use my card to purchase goods and services which do notmeet the outcomes in my support plan?Essex County Council has access to real time records of expenditure for all PaymentCards. This means that we will be able to monitor how Personal Budget funds are beingspent, ensuring that they are used appropriately in meeting the needs outlined in eachcustomer’s Support Plan.If we think an individual might be using their Payment Card inappropriately, a review willbe undertaken. This will look at your Personal Budget and whether a Payment Card is thebest way to meet your needs.Essex County Council has a number of safeguards in place to limit the use of PaymentCards. This includes placing a block on a number of restricted sellers that areinappropriate (such as gambling or alcohol providers). Attempted payments to a restrictedseller will be declined and alerted to Essex County Council. If you have a query about thelist of restricted sellers, please contact Citi Bank Customer Services on 0203 027 1854.Is there a daily limit for cash withdrawals from ATMs?You will not be able to withdraw more than £50 from an ATM in any one 24 hour period.There is a charge of £1.50 for each withdrawal (excluding the first withdrawal made aftereach time your card is loaded with funds). This does not include any charge the ATMprovider may make.Who do I contact if I have a problem?If you have a query about your card itself, please contact: Citi Bank Customer Services on0203 027 1854.If you have a question about the payments you receive or about your support plan, pleasediscuss this with your social care team. 5