Handling Money for Clients as a Private Carer

As an independent carer, you may be asked to support with finance-related tasks and make purchases for your clients. Handling money can require a lot of trust, so making sure you and your client are as protected as possible is important for earning it.

Why would you need to handle your client’s money?

Unfortunately, many people have difficulty getting out of the house, which can mean relying on family, friends and carers. This is especially tricky for people over the age of 80, those with disabilities or anyone vulnerable when they’re out alone. 

They can face many barriers in completing tasks which we might take for granted, such as food shopping. This could be because they’re struggling with transportation to and from the shops, carrying heavy bags or reaching shelves safely. 

If your client can’t easily get out of the house alone, they may need your help to complete shopping or service tasks. This could be accompanying them to the shops, assisting them with the internet, or even making purchases for clients on the way to their house if they’ve run out. 

How to best manage your clients’ money

Firstly, it’s crucial to remember that handling money as a private carer requires a good level of trust with your client. These jobs require you to look after your client’s money or bank details. By having this relationship with them, you can give them the ability to maintain some independence.

It’s still best practice to protect yourself, just in case. You could be managing sensitive information, so keeping being sensible with what you look after financially is important. There many simple ways to do this.

Avoid cash:

One key way to maintain trust is to avoid paying in cash on your client’s where possible. It’s not very easy to prove who paid for something with cash, which makes it difficult to keep records that will protect you in the event of a disagreement. 

Handling money can be risky if you don’t have a paper trail, so as a private carer it’s always best to keep one.

Use a card:

Rather than relying on cash, ask your client if it’d be okay to use their card to buy them things. You could also ask for a Carers Shopping Card. These are a secure and convenient way for carers to access smaller amounts of money needed for any shopping or money-related tasks their client might need help with. 

If your client gives you card or pin information then you shouldn’t save or write this down for further reference, even if you may need it again in the future. Whenever you make purchases for your client, cards and any change should be returned immediately, alongside receipts.

Keep your receipts:

Remember to keep a copy of receipts where you make purchases for clients alongside giving one to them. You can attach this to your shopping expenses form. You should make a written log of this, so there are several pieces of documentation to show you made this purchase.

Get permission:

You should contact your clients’ next of kin for expensive purchases or anything that might be different from their usual buys.  

Try and remember you should never take cash gifts from your client to safeguard yourself against potential financial issues.

Another option is just to help your clients maintain their independence. You could try escorting them to the shops, helping them to arrange telephone orders for home deliveries, or encouraging them to look online with you when they need something on the internet. 

For some people, being able to maintain this independence may be the most valuable service you can give.

If you’d like more advice on handling money for clients and protecting yourself, visit the Money Carer Foundation website.