UK-based charity Royal Voluntary Service (RVS) has selected Mastercard issuers Starling Bank and PFS to provide trusted payment cards to NHS volunteer responders amid the Covid-19 pandemic.

Mastercard said that an “army” of 600,000 volunteers have stepped up to support the vulnerable people in England, who have been isolated due to the virus.

The critically vulnerable and self-isolated people can apply for the new cards and appoint the NHS volunteers to make purchases on their behalf.

They can use an app called GoodSAM to find these volunteers for their grocery shopping, collecting prescriptions and ‘check-in and chat’ phone calls.

The Connected card from Starling Bank

Starling Bank is offering an extra debit card named Connected card, which can be added to a customer’s Starling account.

The balance limit of the fee-free card is capped at £200, and it can be used only in physical stores.

Starling Bank founder and CEO Anne Boden said: “We wanted to find a practical solution to a very real problem, so we launched the Connected card to help our customers pay for supplies bought for them by trusted friends and neighbours without the hassle of transferring money or handling cash.”

The PFS prepaid card

The PFS prepaid card can be handed to an NHS volunteer who can pay for food and other essential household items at selected retailers that accept Mastercard, on customer’s behalf.

The customers can top up the card with as much amount as they like via bank transfers, debit or credit cards.

The contactless payment limit is capped at £45, which removes the need for PIN sharing.

Cardholders can check their balances and history on the PFS cardholder portal.

PFS CCO Lee Britton said: “We are honoured to be the sole prepaid issuer identified to work with the Royal Voluntary Service team on this incredible project.”