Covid-19: Asda and M&S introduce volunteer shopping cards

Asda and Marks & Spencer (M&S) have launched volunteer shopping cards to enable elderly, vulnerable and self-isolating people to have their shopping collected by volunteers safely and securely.

The initiative means that transactions can be made by a volunteer on behalf of someone else without the need for cash or bank cards to be exchanged. This reduces the risk of infection occurring between the parties as well removing opportunities for fraud.

For both Asda and M&S, the e-card can be brought online and loaded with as much money as the purchaser wants. It can then either be emailed to the volunteer or printed out and left in a safe location for them to collect. The card can then be used contactlessly in store using a barcode, before finally, the volunteer can leave the shopping in a safe location to be collected by the purchaser.

With the number of coronavirus cases likely to substantially increase over the next few weeks, there is a need to find ways to enable a growing number of people to continue getting essential items in a contactless way. This is especially important given that retailers are facing difficulties meeting the unprecedented increase in demand for online shopping over recent weeks.

Roger Burnley, CEO and president of Asda, commented: “We are working with DEFRA on ensuring the most vulnerable in society have access to food, as well as encouraging those who can shop in stores to do so – so that we can focus our growing online capacity on those who do need to stay indoors. We know that many people are relying on others in this time of need, and it is amazing to see how the country has come together and so many volunteers are giving their time to help others, so we wanted to help make it easier for them with this simple payment solution.”