M&S Bank suggested he call their customer service on his landline to check on the transactions, but Mr Henry said that was not a viable option as it required him to be at home, adding: ‘I don’t want to be stuck somewhere with no way to pay. There should be some degree of understanding for people like me who don’t know how to use cell phones.”
Natalie Ceeney, chair of Cash Action Group, said: “There are over four million people in the UK without a smartphone, and there are many more who live in areas with poor mobile coverage. They are often the oldest or the most vulnerable. It is essential that there is always an alternative to digital payments to ensure that no one is left behind. »
Some companies don’t offer an alternative to mobile phone verification. To even apply for a credit card, Virgin Money and John Lewis Finance require customers to provide a mobile phone number, as does the TSB – although it allows customers to register without a mobile phone in branch.
Activist Dame Esther Rantzen, who started The Silver Helpline for older people, said: ‘No one takes into account how older people are affected when a process like this changes. It’s absolutely infuriating that bank employees in their 40s make such decisions that affect 90-year-olds.
A spokesperson for M&S Bank said affected customers should contact the bank to “explore the most appropriate solution for them”.
An FCA spokesperson said: “Banks and other payment companies should provide several different methods for people to confirm that transactions are genuine. We engage with any company that does not offer alternative methods.