Bank and building society accounts

Dealing with your banking may feel stressful when you are coping with cancer and its effects. Explore the different support options available that may help you.

Help with your banking

There are different ways someone can help you manage your account. You can ask someone to help you, such as a close friend or family member that you trust. The best way to organise this depends on your situation. It also depends on the type of bank account you have. You can choose the option that works best for you.

Third-party mandate

This is when you arrange for your bank to let someone manage your bank account. This must be a specific named person. This person will usually be able to:

  • take out money in your name
  • make payments in your name
  • make other transactions in your name.

The bank account is still yours – it does not become a joint account.

To set up a third-party mandate, contact your bank. Your bank does not have to agree to allow a third-party mandate.

Joint account

A joint account is owned by 2 people. You can:

  • change an account you have already to make it a joint account
  • open a new joint account with another person.

The other person becomes the joint owner of the money in the account. You are both responsible for any overdraft on the account. An overdraft is any money you take out of your bank account after your balance reaches zero. The joint owner will be able to write cheques and make other decisions.

The joint owner will usually automatically inherit any money in the account if you die. In Scotland, any money that you put into a joint account still belongs to you when you die. It then becomes part of your estate.

To set up a joint account, contact your bank.

The post office

You can use the post office to get access to your bank. This can be helpful if you are not well enough to travel to your bank. The services they provide include:

  • withdrawing money
  • paying in cash and cheques
  • checking your balance.

Power of attorney

Setting up a power of attorney gives someone (or more than 1 person) the power to manage your finances if you are unable to. We have more information about setting up a power of attorney in Scotland and England and Wales. You can also talk to our financial guides for free on 0800 808 00 00.

For information about different types of bank accounts, speak to your bank or visit the Money Helper website

Protect your PIN

PIN stands for Personal Identification Number. This is a code you use when you take out cash at a cash machine or pay for goods in a shop with a debit, credit or cash card. Your PIN must be kept safe.

Never give anyone your debit, credit or cash card 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 save you money. If you switch to them, some banks and building societies may offer you:

  • money
  • lower overdraft fees
  • a better interest rate.

The Current Account Switch Service can help make it easier to switch your account. Contact the bank or building society you want to switch to, and they will complete the switch within 7 working days. They will help make sure all your direct debits and other payments are transferred to your new account.

Websites such as Money Saving Expert and uswitch can help you find the best deals.

Payment Exception Service

You may be able to use the Payment Exception Service. This is an option if you cannot use a:

  • bank
  • building society
  • credit union
  • post office account.

It can be used to collect any:

  • benefits
  • pension payments.

To get your money, you may be sent a:

  • payment card
  • voucher by email
  • text message with a unique reference number.

You will need to show one of these to collect your payment. You can do this anywhere that displays the PayPoint symbol. This might be your local newsagent or supermarket. You will also need to show proof of identity, such as a current passport or utility bill. You can also arrange for someone you trust to collect your money for you.

You can only collect up to £100 for each payment collection.

Visit the GOV UK website for more information about the Payment Exception Service.

About our information

  • Reviewers

    Our financial information has been written, revised and edited by Macmillan Cancer Support’s Cancer Information Development team. It has been reviewed by finance, housing and energy experts and people living with cancer. It has been approved by Amanda South, Macmillan Financial Guidance Service Manager.

    Our cancer information has been awarded the PIF TICK. Created by the Patient Information Forum, this quality mark shows we meet PIF’s 10 criteria for trustworthy health information.

Date reviewed

Reviewed: 01 November 2022
Next review: 01 November 2025
Trusted Information Creator - Patient Information Forum
Trusted Information Creator - Patient Information Forum

Our cancer information meets the PIF TICK quality mark.

This means it is easy to use, up-to-date and based on the latest evidence. Learn more about how we produce our information.