Frequently Asked Questions
How does The Devon Card work?
The card is a ‘pre-loaded’ VISA card that is similar to a bank debit card. However, it does not offer credit or an overdraft.Money must be loaded onto the card before you can spend it, and you can only spend what has been loaded onto the card.
An eligible service user (or a person acting on their behalf) will be issued with a card in their name. We will load direct payments onto the card every four weeks in the same way that payments are currently made into the bank accounts of existing direct payments users.
If you have a Devon Card you will be able to take advantage of the online banking and telephone banking facilities associated with it. These provide you with further ways of managing your direct payments.
You can pay providers for services in a number of ways which include:
- CHIP and PIN face-to-face payments
- CHIP, PIN and CV2 (3-digit security number on reverse) payments online,
- by telephone or mail order
- Standing order via online banking or telephone banking
- Bank transfer (BACS) payments via online banking or telephone banking.
It is not possible to spend more money than is loaded onto the card.
We will be able to view payments made using The Devon Card on the internet so card users do not need to provide financial returns.
Why is Devon County Council using The Devon Card for Direct Payments?
National evidence suggests that people who direct and manage their own support achieve better results. Evidence also suggests that direct payments are the most effective means by which people can direct and manage their own support.
Currently, people must set up and manage a specific bank account and provide financial statements to us relating to their direct payments. With the card there is no need to set up an account and provide financial statements, and we can as we can view them online and support people more effectively and efficiently.
Feedback from service users and staff has given a strong message that a card will encourage more people to manage their personal budget using direct payments. In addition, the overwhelming response from a previous consultation with service users in 2010 was that people would welcome a pre-loaded card as an alternative to receiving direct payments into a personal bank account.
What are the advantages of The Devon Card compared to using a bank account?
You won’t need to open and manage a dedicated bank account in order to receive direct payments, and you won’t need to send your statements to us, which should save you time and money and is more environmentally friendly.
It is also easier for us to make sure that people are getting the services they need if they are using a card because we can see what they are spending their direct payments on, rather than depending on the direct payments recipient (or person acting on their behalf) providing us with paper bank statements.
Do I have to have a card?
The Devon Card will be the primary option offered by Devon County Council to people managing their direct payments. However, if someone would rather not have a card they can still use a bank account for their direct payments.
Existing direct payments users will be offered the card at point of review. There is no current plan to make the card mandatory, although this is possible in future if initial trials prove successful. This is consistent with the approach taken by other local authorities.
How can I get a Devon Card?
New direct payments users will be offered the card as part of the set up of their direct payments. Existing direct payments users will be offered the card at point of review. Everyone will receive support from our Direct Payments team to ensure that they are able to use the card confidently and in a way that will meet their ongoing needs.
We will need to check your identity before issuing a card (this also applies if you are acting as a cardholder and ‘suitable person’ on behalf of a direct payments recipient). This will be done as part of your Direct Payments Agreement and one of our Direct Payments team will help you. When this is done we will apply for your card. The card will be delivered to you within 5-10 days. When you receive your card you can either go online or use the telephone to retrieve your Personal Identification Number (PIN) and activate your card.
How can I make payments with my Devon Card?
You can make payments in a number of ways. These include:
- Presenting your card to a provider of services (if they accept VISA payments). To make the transaction you will normally be asked to enter your 4-digit PIN. For telephone and internet transactions you will need to give your 16-digit card number, start and expiry date and the 3-digit security code printed on the signature strip on the back of your card. The amount of the payment will then be deducted from your card. You cannot spend more than the available credit on your card. Please remember to retain your receipts for any purchases in case we need to see them.
- If you have internet access, you can go online to make payments using standing orders or bank transfers (BACS). Bank transfers will take 3 working days. You can also make a same-day or next-working-day bank transfer but you will be charged, so this should be avoided. For further details see How can I use the online banking facility to set up standing orders from my account?
- You can also make bank transfers and standing orders by using the telephone banking facility that comes with the card. For further details see How do I access the telephone banking facilities?
Can someone without mental capacity have a Devon Card?
Yes. If a service user doesn’t have the capacity to consent to direct payments, we still have a duty to offer them to that person as long as they appear to be able to manage them, along with support.
However, the payments can only be made where there is an appointed ‘suitable person’ who is willing to manage the direct payments on their behalf. This ‘suitable person’ is also accountable for making certain that the direct payments are used properly.
In most cases, the ‘suitable person’ will be a family member or other person already involved in providing care for the service user. They may, but not always, have been given a lasting power of attorney or have been appointed by the Court of Protection as a deputy under the Mental CapacityAct 2005.
The‘suitable person’ must be capable of managing direct payments (either on their own or with available help), and we must be satisfied that they fully understand what is involved in managing direct payments.
If The Devon Card is to be used, it will be issued in the name of the ‘suitable person’.
Further details can be found in our direct payments policy. Our Direct Payments team will be able to provide support to any person wishing to act as a ‘suitable person’ for a service user.
Can someone else look after my Devon Card for me?
If the person who is eligible for direct payments does not have capacity to consent, their Devon Card must be looked after by what we call a ‘suitable person’ (please see Can someone without mental capacity have a Devon Card?).
If you have the mental capacity to have a Devon Card but you want someone else to look after your card and manage the associated finances on your behalf, you can appoint what we call a ‘nominated person’ to do this. However, it is important to remember that it is you who is accountable for how your direct payments money is spent.
A member of the Direct Payments team will be able to talk you through the options for getting help with your card.
Can I still use The Devon Card if I don’t have internet access?
Yes. The Devon Card is not dependent on internet access. Anything that can be done online (such as setting up a standing order or making a balance enquiry) can be done by making a phone call to the card provider.
Some people may find it easier to manage their card online and so a person without internet access may wish to consider using a ‘nominated person’ (see Can someone else look after my Devon Card for me?) who does have internet access to manage the card on their behalf.
If you are not online, you will not be charged for your paper statements. You can find out your card account balance (by texting 07770 500500) or by using a cash point (ATM) which is free to cardholders.
What support can I get to help me set up and use my Devon Card?
All service users have access to specialist support from our Direct Payments team. The telephone number is 0345 1551 007 , or you can email
New users of social care will have the opportunity to get a Devon Card when their direct payments are set up.
Existing users of social care will be offered a Devon Card either at formal review or through a specific approach by a member of the Direct Payments team. In both cases, a member of the team will go through the options and advantages for practical and safe use of the card.
Direct Payments team support is available to all users of direct payments and the team will be able to help with any aspect of the card’s use.
Guidance is also available in print and on our website.
How will you confirm my identity?
A member of the Direct Payments team will talk you through the identity confirmation process when they visit you to talk about setting up your Devon Card. We will need to see (and note down the detail from) one or two official documents that show your name and address. Further details about the documents that we would need to see are available at Confirming your Identity
Can I use my Devon Card as soon as it arrives?
Before you can use your card it will need to be activated and you will need to retrieve your Personal Identification Number (PIN). It will also need to be loaded with funds for you to spend on your care.
To activate your card you need to do one of the following:
- Telephone 0330 100 3686, choose option 2 and follow the instructions. Please have your card and account number with you
- Online – go to my cards page and click the activate button next to the relevant card image.
To retrieve your PIN:
- Online – go to my cards page and click the retrieve pin button next to the relevant card image
- Telephone 0330 100 3686, choose option 2 and follow the instructions. Make sure you have your card and account number with you.
If you would like to change your PIN to a more memorable number, this can be done easily at most ATMs (cash machines) that display the Visa acceptance mark.
Your Devon Card will be loaded with funds after your Direct Payments Agreement has been finalised. We will let you know the date of your first payment.
How often will funds be loaded onto my Devon Card?
Payments are made every four weeks, whether someone is receiving their payments onto a Devon Card or into a bank account. Each payment will be for four times the agreed weekly amount that is necessary to meet your needs. If your financial assessment has determined that you will make a personal contribution to this amount then this will be loaded onto the card as part of this payment. We will collect this amount from you separately. We will Invoice separately for your contribution and you should not use social care funds to make this payment.
I currently use a bank account for my direct payments. Can I transfer my balance to my Devon Card?
Yes. Once your card is activated you will be able to transfer funds from your bank account to your card by making a bank transfer (BACS) or standing order payment direct to your card. A member of the Direct Payments team can help with this.
Can I continue to use Disability Focus (or another organisation) to manage my bank account for me?
Because a pre-loaded card requires less financial management activity it makes it a credible option for those service users currently using a managed bank account service. If you currently receive funding for a managed account service, we will work with you to review your overall circumstances and help you decide whether The Devon Card is suitable for you. If you currently have a managed bank account you will have the option to continue to use this and we will continue to fund this on your behalf.
We will only fund managed account services for new users of direct payments if we feel that The Devon Card is not practical for you. In these circumstances, new users of direct payments can still choose to have a managed account but we will expect you to fund this yourself.
We will continue to fund payroll services and Employer’s Liability Insurance for direct payments recipients irrespective of whether they are using The Devon Card.
Can I pay my personal assistant with The Devon Card?
Yes. They just need a bank account to receive payments into. Once they have provided you with details, it is probably best to set up a recurring standing order to their bank account. Another option would be to pay using a bank transfer (BACS). This can be done by using the online banking facility or telephone facility associated with your card. If your personal assistant is employed by an organisation that is a VISA merchant you can also pay the organisation directly from The Devon Card.
What address should I use when making internet and telephone purchases?
Always use the address you have registered on the Devon Card, if you change address please let Devon County Council know by phoning 0345 1551 007 and also phone CredEcard on 0844 412 1717
Can I use the card to withdraw cash?
No. Direct Payments are public funds and must be auditable. Large-scale use of payment by cash is not auditable and does not comply with Inland Revenue obligations. If you are currently paying cash to a provider you should be able to pay in other ways (refer to How can I pay providers with the card?).
Will I have to pay any charges for using The Devon Card?
Some types of usage incur charges. The only charges that you will be liable for are:
- Replacement of card (e.g. in case of lost or stolen card) – £3.50 per replacement
- overseas use of card – £1 per transaction plus 2% of value
- withdrawn or cancelled transactions (if you want to cancel a payment you made earlier) – £5 per transaction
- next-day bank transfer of funds from account – £3 per transaction ( there is no charge for a normal transfer which takes up to three working days)
- same-day bank transfer of funds from account (CHAPS) – £15 per transaction
- standard overseas transfer of funds from account – £20 per transaction
- urgent overseas transfer of funds from account – £28 per transaction
These charges can also be found by going online and clicking on my fees.
The majority of these charges should be avoidable. The Direct payments team can discuss any concerns you may have about charging.
Charges are deductible from the funds held on your Devon Card. You will need to reimburse any charges you incur from personal funds (see Can I add other funds to my Devon Card?).
Can I spend more money than I have on the card?
No. In order for a payment to process successfully there must be adequate funds available on The Devon Card.
Can I add other funds to my Devon Card?
Yes. You can add further funds to your card for any of the following reasons:
- if you want to buy more support than is provided for by your direct payment
- if you want to buy more expensive support.
- If you need to reimburse your Devon card account for charges you have incurred which you are liable for.
You will be able to transfer funds from a personal bank account to your card by making a bank transfer (BACS) or standing order payment. A member of the Direct Payments team will explain this to you.
You should only add funds to your card to pay for support that meets the outcomes defined on your support plan.
How do I access the online banking facilities?
You can access online banking by logging on to www.credecard.com, selecting the appropriate option and entering your logon details, which will have been sent to you if you have told us that you are an internet user and have given us your email address.
How can I use the online banking facility to set up standing orders from my account?
Go to the my account tab and click the ‘Standing orders’ button on the left hand side of the screen and follow the instructions.
How do I access the telephone banking facilities?
Call 0330 100 3686. (Calls are charged at 5.1p per minute from a BT landline. Other network and mobile operator charges may apply).
What happens if I lose my Devon Card or it is stolen?
You should treat your Devon Card like you treat cash. Keep your PIN and any online banking security information secret and do not write it down.
Lost or stolen cards should be reported immediately in one of the following ways:
- by using the online banking (www.credecard.com) facility. Go to the my cards tab and click the ‘lost’ or ‘stolen’ button
- by telephoning 01756 693275
It is important to report any loss or theft as soon as you are aware of it. Failing to report a loss could be considered negligence by the card company and you may be liable for any unauthorised transactions that may have been carried out before the loss was reported.
A new Devon Card will be sent to you within 5 to 10 working days of any reported loss.
What do I do if I have forgotten my PIN?
What should I do if I need to make a payment but my card has not arrived?
How do I change my online banking password?
Using the online banking facility, click on Profile. The change password option is on the left hand side of the screen.
How can I protect myself from fraud?
- make sure your PIN and online banking details are not easy to guess and are not written down anywhere
- do not give your PIN or online banking logon details to anyone apart from your nominated person (if you have one)
- keep your card in a safe place
- make sure you report any loss or theft of your card as soon as possible
- make sure you have security (anti-virus) software installed on your computer if you are using the online banking facility
- don’t click on links and enter online banking login details if you get any emails asking you to do so.
I have a sight / hearing impairment. How will I use the card?
The Devon Card should be a practical option for someone with a hearing or visual impairment to manage their direct payments. They may want to consider whether to use a ‘nominated person’ to assist them. (refer to Can someone else look after my Devon Card for me?)
If you have a sight or hearing impairment, your care manager or a member of the Direct Payments team will work with you to determine the best solution for your individual circumstances.
Will Devon County Council be able to see details of payments that I make using The Devon Card?
You will not need to send us financial statements if you use The Devon Card as we are able to monitor your spend electronically without you needing to do anything specific. You should still retain your invoices from providers, though, as we may need to see these at some point. Existing policy specifies what direct payments can be spent on. This aspect of policy applies whether you use a bank account or The Devon Card to manage your direct payments.
How can I get statements or find out how much money is on my card?
There are a number of ways to view the balance on your Devon Card:
- Online (see How do I access the online banking facilities?)
- by telephone (see How do I access the telephone banking facilities?)
- by texting 07770 500500
- at an ATM (cash machine).
You can obtain a statement by:
- viewing it online or downloading a copy from your online bank account
- requesting a paper statement via your online bank account
- by calling 0844 412 1717
We encourage people to avoid the use of paper statements if possible because they incur a further cost for Devon County Council.
What do I do if my Devon Card is refused when making a payment?
First, do a few checks:
- do you have sufficient funds?
- is your card damaged?
- has your card expired?
- have you asked for your card to be blocked?
- are you using the correct PIN?
- if you are using the online banking facility or are on the phone, have you entered the card number and other details correctly?
If you still require help, contact the Credecard customer services centre on
0330 100 3686.
I make a personal contribution to my direct payments. How will this work?
We will send you an invoice every four weeks for your personal contribution amount. The preferred method of payment is by direct debit. Your personal contribution will be loaded onto the card alongside our contribution. This means that you can be confident in the knowledge that your full direct payment will be consistently available every four weeks.
Will Devon County Council take money back from my card if I don’t spend it?
Our policy in relation to ‘underspend’ is not changing and does not change depending whether The Devon Card is used or not. Further details can be found in our direct payments policy. If we feel that recovery of any unspent money is appropriate we will communicate with you about this before we remove any funds from your Devon Card.
How often is my card renewed?
Unless your card is lost, damaged or stolen, your card will be automatically renewed every three years.
What should I do if I no longer require my Devon Card?
If you no longer require your Devon Card please telephone Care Direct on 0345 1551 007
I’m a provider of services. What does The Devon Card mean for me?
Evidence shows that people achieve better results by taking control of their personal budgets and, as awareness grows, more and more people are choosing to personalise their support. In addition, Government has set challenging targets for Local Authorities to provide genuinely authentic personal budgets for people. The proportion of people using direct payments will continue to grow as will demand for personalised support.
One likely benefit for providers is the removal of the Local Authority as a payment intermediary. Payment direct from a service user will generally be quicker than payment from a Local Authority for commissioned services.
Providers can be paid in a number of ways by a service user (or a person acting on their behalf). These include
- CHIP and PIN face-to-face payments
- CHIP, PIN and CV2 (3-digit security number on reverse) payments online, by telephone or mail order
- Standing order
- BACS bank transfer.
Cash payment is not possible.
Providers do not need to be Visa merchants.