NatWest has launched a new ‘companion card’ that allows caretakers to pay for essential goods on behalf of vulnerable and isolated customers amid the coronavirus (Covid-19) pandemic.

The new card acts as a supplement to the existing current accounts and can be recharged by up to £100 every five days.

The card is given to a trusted person or carer, whose account will be associated with the customer’s existing bank account but kept separate on the backend to ensure security.

Moreover, the companion card is subject to NatWest’s fraud monitoring systems.

It does not share a PIN or card number with customer’s existing debit cards and ATM withdrawals capped at £50.

Welcoming the launch, NatWest Personal Banking CEO Les Matheson said: “Tackling issues around access to finance can be difficult for some.

“But we are committed to finding innovative solutions that keep our customers safe and able to pay for the things they need when they need them – whether that’s digital via our app, via this new card, or through cash.”

The card launch follows a series of latest measures introduced by NatWest to protect vulnerable customers in response to the Covid-19 crisis.

NatWest is the first bank in the UK to offer isolated customers a fee-free cash delivery service at their doorstep. It has delivered £250,000 to around 750 customers since 25 March.

A customer can also request a ‘get cash’ code, which allows a trusted third-party to withdraw cash up to £100 from any of the bank’s ATMs on the customer’s behalf.