Financial and domestic abuse – how we can support you

If you are in immediate danger of any form of domestic abuse, please call 999, if you’re unable to speak to the operator this should be followed by 55. This will indicate to the operator that you are a victim of domestic abuse and they will know what to do to support you.

What is financial and domestic abuse?

When you think of domestic abuse, you often think of a verbal or physical attack. But financial abuse – which can take many forms – is sadly another common form of abuse.

Financial abuse can occur in all different types of relationships, not just between partners or family members, but also friends or carers - and it could happen to you, or someone you know.

Domestic abuse, or domestic violence, is defined across Government as any incident of controlling, coercive or threatening behaviour, violence or abuse between those aged 16 or over who are or have been intimate partners or family members (including step and in-law family members), regardless of their gender or sexuality. Domestic abuse covers a range of abusive behaviour, including - but not limited to - psychological, physical, sexual, emotional or financial abuse.

What does financial abuse look like?

Sadly, financial abuse can take many forms, but some examples include:

  • Stopping someone – such as a partner - from spending on essentials
  • Taking out credit in someone else’s name – possibly a family member - without them knowing
  • Forcing someone – possibly a partner - to hand over control of bank accounts
  • Putting debt in someone else’s name, again this could be a partner

This UK Finance guide has more information on what kind of behaviour is financial abuse and where you can go for help.

How we can support you:

If you’re facing financial abuse, we’re here to support you and help you regain control of your finances. If you’re able to, please call us on 0345 900 0900 and one of our colleagues will talk you through ways in which we could help. 

We understand every situation is different, so we’ve also outlined below some additional steps which you could take.

You could also contact the organisations below for support and advice. But please remember, if you’re in immediate danger, you should call 999, followed by 55 if you’re unable to speak to the operator.

Cards and PINs

If you’re concerned that someone else may have your card details, we can easily send you a new card and PIN in the post. Once sent you will not be able to use your existing card and will need to wait for your new one to arrive.

You can also change an existing PIN at any high street bank ATM with the VISA symbol. If you’ve forgotten your PIN, you can send yourself a reminder through our online banking service or we can send you a reminder through the post, just call us on 0345 900 0900.

Passwords

To ensure your accounts are secure, you may feel you need to change your passwords for telephone, online or mobile banking. You can do this by following these steps:

It’s important to remember that you should never share your PIN or passwords with anyone.

Post

We understand that, at times, it might be difficult for you to receive post at your home address. If this is the case, there are a few things we can do to help:

  • You can opt for online statements by signing into your online banking and amending your statement delivery preferences.
  • You can also change your address so that your post goes to a trusted friend or family’s home instead. You’ll need to sign into your online banking and amend your details to do this, or you can simply give us a call on 0345 900 0900.

It’s important that we hold your residential address so please update us when you can start to receive post to your home address once more.

Third Party access

You can arrange for a trusted third-party to look after your accounts for you if you’re struggling to manage them yourself – this can be a temporary measure. Read more about what a third party account holder can do.

Joint accounts

If you have a joint account and you’re no longer with your partner, you will need to contact us to make us aware of your change in circumstances. We will be able to advise you on how transactions going out of your account may be suspended, closing the account and setting up a sole account.

You’ll find more information on our unexpected change pages.

Opening a new account

It might be that opening a new account is the best option for you - find out about ways to open an account.

Credit cards

If you have an M&S Bank credit card, you should check if you’re the primary or secondary cardholder - this is because the primary cardholder is responsible for the repayment of all money spent across both cards. If for any reason you’re in dispute with the secondary cardholder, we’d recommend that you remove the second card as soon as possible. To add or remove a secondary cardholder please contact us on 0345 900 0900.

Debts

Any lending that is in your name will need to be repaid. If you’re having difficulties, or would like to discuss this further, please contact us on 0345 850 0622 to talk about what we can do to help. You’ll find more information on our financial management pages.

Fraud

If you think you’ve been a victim of fraud, or you think that someone has taken out credit in your name, please let us know as soon as possible. If you have an M&S Bank card you can call us on 03457 404 404 or by visiting one of our branches. You should also notify any other credit card providers straight away. You can find more information on our Security and Fraud advice pages.

Credit file

You can get copies of your credit file from the following credit reference agencies:

You may want to think about getting a notice of dissociation from the credit reference agencies as this will help to separate you from any joint financial arrangements. You can also register with Cifas, a fraud prevention organisation who will be able to alert you if any credit applications are made in your name.

Assisting with your money

If you’re struggling to manage your accounts, there are different ways in which we can help:

  • Third party access

Our assisting others pages provide details on third party access options which can be applied.

  • Emergency contact

If you’re an M&S Bank customer, you can also provide us with an Emergency Contact. For more information, visit our unexpected change page

Further help

For additional support and advice, or simply someone to talk to, you can contact any of the below helplines:

National Domestic Abuse Helpline

Refuge www.refuge.org.uk

0808 2000 247 24-hour helpline

Living With Abuse

www.lwa.org.uk

0808 802 0028 Monday to Saturday 08:00–20:00

Women’s Aid

www.womensaid.org.uk

helpline@womensaid.org.uk

Instant messaging service 10am – 12pm via website

Money Advice Service

The Men’s Advice Line

www.mensadviceline.org.uk

0808 801 0327 Monday to Friday 10:00–13:00 and 14:00–17:00

ManKind Initiative

www.mankind.org.uk

01823 334 244 Monday to Friday 10:00–16:00 and 19:00–21:00 (except Friday evenings)

Live Fear Free Helpline

Support for men, women and children in Wales with Welsh language provision.

www.livefearfree.gov.wales

0808 8010 800

Elder Abuse

www.elderabuse.org.uk

0808 808 8141 Monday to Friday 09:00–17:00