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Direct payment cards

A direct payment card is a pre-paid card which is similar to a normal debit card.  You use the card to pay your care and support providers.

How to get a direct payment card

If you have decided to have your personal budget paid as a direct payment, your adult social care worker will arrange for you to sign a direct payment agreement.  They will then order a direct payment card for you which you should receive within 10 days of the request.

Activate your direct payment card

Your card will be sent to you from the card provider - pre-paid financial services (PFS).  There will be a letter asking you to sign the card and activate it by calling the PFS automated voice response number on 020 3327 1991.  The automated service will talk you through the activation process step by step.

If you need more help to activate your card, call the PFS customer service centre on 020 3633 3857 which is available, Monday to Friday, 8 am to 6 pm or email:

Register your online bank account

You can register for online banking at  You'll need to enter the long 16 digit number on the front of the card and your date of birth.  You'll then be asked to set up your user name and password.  You can watch a video to help you do this.

Receive payments from us

We will pay your direct payment into your direct payment card account every 4 weeks in advance.  The amount we pay into the account will be nett of any personal contribution you need to pay towards your care and support services.

You should expect to pay towards the cost of your care. The amount you pay depends on your level of need and the value of your income, savings and assets. We will tell you how much your personal contribution will be when we have completed a financial assessment.

How to pay your personal contribution

You'll need to pay your contribution by:

  • regular standing order / bank transfer or
  • take cash to the post office or a payzone outlet where they will swipe your card and give you a receipt.  The money will appear in the account by the following day.

If you don’t pay your contribution, there will not be enough funds in the account to pay for your care and support.

How to pay your care and support providers

You can pay the person or provider you are using by:

  • asking them to set up a direct debit or
  • calling the PFS customer service centre on 020 3633 3857

If you have registered for online banking, you can set up your provider as a regular payee and transfer payments to them electronically.

Using your direct payment card

You can only use your direct payment card to pay for the services which have been agreed in your support plan.

You cannot use your direct payment card for household expenses or anything illegal.

You won’t be able to withdraw cash using your direct payment card unless this has been agreed with your adult social care worker and written down in your support plan.

How to check your account

If you have registered for online banking, you can get statements and view transactions at

If you're not registered for online banking, you can get a balance by calling the council’s direct payments team on 0116 305 6099.

Help if you’re deaf or hard of hearing 

You can communicate with the PFS customer service centre by

  • TexBox, using your textphone / minicom and dialling 020 8964 6333
  • TexMee, using your Android or Iphone by downloading the TexMee App from Google Play or the APP Store

Is the direct payment card safe and secure to use?

As with any debit or credit card, you’ll need to keep your card in a safe place.  You should not give your card to someone else or allow them to use it.

If your card is lost or stolen or you suspect it has been misused, you should contact the PFS customer service centre as quickly as possible.

Contact PFS customer service centre:

Monday to Friday, 8am to 6pm, telephone 020 3633 3857, or their automated voice response service on 020 3327 1991 which is available 24 hours a day, 7 days a week.

Keeping records

You don’t need to keep bank statements but you may wish to keep care agency invoices and receipts for your own records. 

If you employ a personal assistant, you’ll need to keep a record of hours of work and wages as well as any sick pay, holiday pay, pensions and payments made to HMRC for tax and national insurance. If you have chosen to use the council’s in house payroll team, you can contact them on 0116 305 3050.

Monitoring and auditing your direct payment card account 

We need to monitor the money that is paid to you to make sure that you are 

  • using the money effectively to meet your needs which are in your support plan
  • able to manage your direct payment either on your own or with support.

We will audit your account around 8 weeks after you first start to receive your direct payment to check how things are going. 

If everything looks ok, we will audit your account again about 12 months later.  In some cases, we may need to audit your account more often but we’ll let you know if we need to do this.

What happens to money left over in the direct payment card account

The money we pay to you is public money which the Council has a duty to account for.  We’ll review your account from time to time and calculate how much you need to keep in the account.  We will collect back any money that’s not needed, especially where services have been ended or are no longer needed.

Changing your mind about a direct payment

If you no longer want your personal budget paid to you as a direct payment, you can move to a council managed service.  You can do this by contacting adult social care

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