Managing payments

It is important to keep track of your bills and bank accounts, although this can be hard.

Paying by direct debit ensures your bills are automatically paid on time. It lets an organisation take money from your account each month. Contact the company providing the goods or service to set up a direct debit.

You can pay a lot of bills online. Contact the company providing the goods or service to arrange this.

When you are coping with cancer and its effects, you may want to ask someone you trust to help with your banking. You can do this through a third-party mandate or using a joint bank account.

You could also open a Post Office card account, which accepts state benefit and pension payments. If you apply for one person to be given permanent access to the account, they can take money out on your behalf.

If you don’t have a bank account, you may be able to use the Simple Payment method to collect any benefits, pension and child maintenance payments.

Ways to pay

Many of us find it hard to keep track of our bills and bank accounts. Remember:

  • Direct Debit is the simplest way to make sure that your bills are automatically paid on time.
  • You can pay most bills and check your bank accounts online. This is often easier and quicker.
  • Some banks, water and energy companies have their own apps. This means you can manage your accounts on your smartphone or tablet.
  • Avoid paying bills late, as you may be charged extra and it may affect your credit rating.


Direct Debit

By setting up a Direct Debit, you tell your bank or building society to let an organisation take money from your account each month. For example, this may be a fuel provider or a credit card company.

  • You tell your bank exactly how much money should be taken out and when.
  • The amount and the payment date cannot be changed without your permission.
  • Fuel and phone providers often give a discount if you arrange to pay by Direct Debit.
  • If you are paying by Direct Debit, you must make sure you have enough money in your account on the payment date.
  • You can arrange to pay your credit card balance by Direct Debit. You choose whether to pay off the full amount each month, a set amount or the minimum repayment.

To arrange to pay a regular bill by Direct Debit, contact the company providing the goods or service.


Online payments

Paying online is now possible for most fuel, phone and credit card bills. Some companies give you a discount if you pay this way. If you have an online bank account, you can make all your bill payments online. You may find it more convenient than having to go to a post box, Post Office or bank.

To arrange to pay a regular bill online, contact the company providing the goods or service. To sign up for online or telephone banking, contact your bank.

Or, if you prefer, you could make all your payments using telephone banking.


Help with your banking

When you are coping with cancer and its effects, having someone help you with banking tasks may help take the pressure off you. The best way to organise this depends on your situation. It also depends what sort of bank account you have.

For information about different types of bank accounts, visit the Money Advice Service website.

Bank and building society accounts

The two main ways someone else can help you run your account are a third-party mandate or a joint account.

Another option would be to give someone power of attorney to run your financial affairs on your behalf. Rules about power of attorney may be different across England and Wales, Scotland, and Northern Ireland.


Protect your PIN

PIN stands for Personal Identification Number. This is a code you use when you use a debit, credit or cash card at a cash machine or a keypad in a shop.

  • Never give anyone your debit, credit or cash card and PIN. By giving away your PIN, you are breaking your bank’s rules. If money goes missing from your account, the bank could refuse to refund it.
  • When you set up a third-party mandate or joint account, the person helping you can have their own card and PIN.


Switching your bank account

Switching your bank account to a different bank or building society could give you better value. If you switch to them, some banks and building societies will offer you:

  • money
  • a better interest rate than you get at the moment.

The Current Account Switch Service makes it easier to switch your account. All you have to do is contact the bank or building society you want to switch to, and they will complete the switch for you within seven working days. They will help make sure all your Direct Debits and other payments are transferred to your new account.

Websites such as moneysavingexpert.com and uswitch.com can help you find the best deals.


Post Office card account

A Post Office card account accepts state benefit and pension payments. It lets you draw them out in cash at Post Offices using a card and PIN.

  • You can apply for one person to be given permanent access to your Post Office card account. This person is called your permanent agent.
  • They will be issued with their own card and PIN. This means they can take out cash and check your balance for you. This person must be someone you trust.

To appoint someone as a permanent agent for your Post Office card account, get an application form from a post office.


Simple Payment

If you don’t have a bank account, you may be able to use the Simple Payment method to collect any:

  • benefits
  • pension
  • child maintenance payments.

Simple Payment replaced payment by cheque.

You will be given a Simple Payment card, and you can collect your payments from anywhere that displays the PayPoint symbol.

You can also arrange for someone else to collect your money on your behalf using Simple Payment. This must be a person you trust.

Simple Payment cards are only available in limited circumstances. For more information about the Simple Payment method, call the Simple Payment helpline on 0845 600 0046.

Back to Planning and managing your finances

Income

Reviewing your savings, investments and income will help you plan your budget.

Budgeting

Having a weekly or monthly budget can help you manage your day-to-day finances.

Spending

If you are struggling to cover your essential costs, call us on 0808 808 00 00. You may be eligible for financial help.

Inheritance tax

Inheritance tax is paid if your estate is worth more than £325,000 after your death. This includes property, money and possessions.

Sorting out your affairs

Cancer has many financial effects. You may have several different issues on your mind – find out where to seek advice.

Borrowing

Make sure you’ve considered other options before borrowing money. Choose the cheapest type of borrowing and know how you’ll make repayments.