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Banking support for non-verbal teen

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claired1234claired1234 Forumite
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Please can someone help me?  My son has Selective Mutism, social anxiety and autism.  He is completely able to make banking decisions for himself and has a card account and savings account.  
Our issues are about contact with the bank.  He’s completely unable to speak on the phone and in the branch.  This isn’t usually an issue as most services are on his online banking.  However, at times we need to go into the branch it has caused an issue as he can’t communicate when asked security questions.  However, with closed questions and my support we’ve got by.  
Similarly, when there was a security issue with his card he was unable to talk with staff in the phone to resolve this.  This caused huge distress.  
I want him to have full control of his finances and to be more independent going forward when he contacts the bank.  But they’ve not been much help.  They suggested Third Party mandate but this wouldn’t enable me to help enough or with his card account.  
I’ve looked into power of eternity but I don’t think this applies to under 18s and I don’t feel this is the right thing either.  
Ideally I just want to be allowed to support his communication with the bank - not support his banking.  I feel like this Disability is drastically overlooked - there’s additional services for people who are unable to hear or see, but nothing for people who cannot speak. 
I’m hoping someone can help me work out how to get this resolved.
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Replies

  • unforeseenunforeseen Forumite
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    There are facilities available. For the phone there is the text relay service and I would think that if the bank are aware of his problem then branch can have something in place to deal with it. 

    Selective mutism is no different to any other problem that prevents speech and there are facilities that can be used.
    https://www.hsbc.co.uk/accessibility/deaf-hearing-or-speech-impaired/
    https://www.barclays.co.uk/accessibility/hearing-or-speech/

    As 2 examples
  • claired1234claired1234 Forumite
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    MoneySaving Newbie
    Thanks.  Sadly we don’t have a textphone and my bank said there was no alternative but the phone when the security of my son’s card had been breeched.  I can look into a text phone though.  I also think looking at the services these banks offer it maybe an issue with Nationwide - as their services are hard to find.  I may need to think about moving banks but I’d rather not.  
  • edited 19 April at 9:50AM
    unforeseenunforeseen Forumite
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    edited 19 April at 9:50AM
  • tacpot12tacpot12 Forumite
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    Moving banks could be the right decision if you can find a bank with better facilities. Banks, along with many businesses, can be slow to hear feedback from customers, but they do eventually notice if people start voting with their feet!
    The comments I post are my personal opinion. While I try to check everything is correct before posting, I can and do make mistakes, so always check official information sources before relying on my posts.
  • born_againborn_again Forumite
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    You would be better off getting power of attorney. At least that way should he need support to talk to them you can assist. Then leave the rest of the banking up to him. This will be be handy should anything happen and he needs more support.

    Other option is to have a joint account, but do not have a card yourself. That will allow you to talk to them on account issues. But you can happily allow your son to run the account himself. So long as you are happy to be financially linked to him.
    On my way to retirement. Thanks to Covid 19. 
  • John_John_ Forumite
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    Thanks.  Sadly we don’t have a textphone and my bank said there was no alternative but the phone when the security of my son’s card had been breeched.  I can look into a text phone though.  I also think looking at the services these banks offer it maybe an issue with Nationwide - as their services are hard to find.  I may need to think about moving banks but I’d rather not.  
    Why not get a textphone?
  • edited 19 April at 5:32PM
    unforeseenunforeseen Forumite
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    edited 19 April at 5:32PM
    As my link pointed out, there is an app for smart phones that turns them into textphones.

    https://www.relayuk.bt.com/relay-uk-services/relay-uk-app.html
  • Owain_MoneysaverOwain_Moneysaver Forumite
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    Bank of Scotland say
    If you have a support worker, they can come to your appointment too. We will always try to meet you in a private and quiet place if you prefer.
    https://www.bankofscotland.co.uk/banking-with-us/assistance-for-everyone/autism-or-learning-difficulty.html
    Would son be able to communicate in writing with branch staff? Taking in a letter with his request, and writing down the answers to security questions as required. 

    A kind word lasts a minute, a skelped erse is sair for a day.
  • Spoonie_TurtleSpoonie_Turtle Forumite
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    You would be better off getting power of attorney. At least that way should he need support to talk to them you can assist. Then leave the rest of the banking up to him. This will be be handy should anything happen and he needs more support.

    Other option is to have a joint account, but do not have a card yourself. That will allow you to talk to them on account issues. But you can happily allow your son to run the account himself. So long as you are happy to be financially linked to him.
    The matter at hand is an accessibility issue rather than a capability issue and POA does not seem appropriate when OP's son has the capacity to make his own decisions (and OP themselves says they don't feel it's the right thing). POA seems to be a step away from independence rather than towards.

    OP does your son use any form of AAC? While it may not solve the phone problem (it would seem to be a reasonable adjustment if the voice of an app read out his correct answers to security questions, but banks are notoriously difficult about not hearing the voice they assume should be coming from the account holder) it may effect independence in branch. Otherwise if he is able to write or type to communicate in person, that would seem to be a simple solution as already suggested (again, for situations in person).
  • claired1234claired1234 Forumite
    4 posts
    First Post
    MoneySaving Newbie
    Thank you for all the suggestions!  I think using his phone as a text phone would be our best option.  He doesn’t like using anything that makes him look different so this would be a good option for him as it’s no different to texting.  
    I don’t want to go down the POA road or getting a joint account as he has to be able to communicate without my help to ensure he’s independent in the future.  He won’t want his Mum being able to access his bank details now let alone when he’s older.  Plus I don’t feel it’s right I pay for POA to fill a gap in reasonable adjustments our bank should make anyway.  
    Thanks again. 
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