Paying for goods or services

Advice for those self-isolating and unable to leave their homes

If you're self-isolating and unable to leave your home, a volunteer may purchase their essential household shopping, medicines (prescription or otherwise) or other essential items. You can either pay for these up-front or reimburse the volunteer afterwards. There are several ways to do this:

  • Place your order online and share the order reference number with a volunteer who can go and collect the order. This is usually called a ‘click and collect’ service and is offered by many large supermarkets.
  • Order a voucher or gift card which can be topped up with money online or over the phone and given to a volunteer or collected by them in store and used to buy the shopping. Many large supermarkets are offering this service including Aldi, Asda, M&S, Morrisons, Sainsbury’s and Waitrose.
  • Give a volunteer a pre-paid cash card to pay for your shopping. The volunteer would need to pick up this card from you in advance of doing the shopping.
  • You can pay for your shopping over the phone at the checkout, after the volunteer has picked it up. Check with your local store to see if they offer this service.
  • A volunteer can use their own debit card to pay for your shopping and be reimbursed afterwards. Alternatively, you could give your debit card to a trusted family member to pay for your shopping. You should never give your debit card to a volunteer who is not a trusted family member. Starling Bank are providing a debit card designed to be used by a volunteer who is a close family member to pay for shopping.
  • As a last resort, a volunteer can pay for the shopping by using their own cash and be reimbursed afterwards, or they could collect cash from you before doing the shopping.

For the above options, please bear in mind the following:

  • A volunteer should give receipts of any orders collected or purchases made to you and return any change, cards or vouchers with balance remaining.
  • If the volunteer has used their own card, cash or other payment method to pay for the shopping, they should be reimbursed by online payment (bank transfer or PayPal), by cheque or cash. Please note, it is always up to the volunteer if they wish to give their bank account/PayPal details to the person they are helping.
  • You should not share any unnecessary details with the volunteer purchasing or collecting their shopping, and vice versa.
  • Make any exchanges of shopping purchased, cards, vouchers, cash or receipts by leaving them on the doorstep to ensure you maintain the two-metre distancing rule. If you are handling these items you should wear gloves and/or make sure you wash your hands thoroughly for at least 20 seconds after to reduce the likelihood of virus transmission. Alternatively, use anti-bacterial gel and always keep your hands away from your face.