Mum finds it hard ordering food due to M&S Bank’s fraud checks

My mother was getting the hang of online shopping when the site introduced this extra step

My dad, who handled all my parents’ financial transactions, died this year and my 82-year-old mum has been learning how to do her grocery shopping online.

She was just getting the hang of it when one-time passcodes (OTP) were introduced on her Sainsbury’s food deliveries.

The first time, we had to phone her card provider, M&S Bank, to update her mobile number so she could receive the passcodes (she hardly ever uses her mobile).

Then, today, she phoned me in tears because she had pressed the wrong button, entered the wrong code, and her card was locked.

When she finally got through to M&S (navigating the call options, in itself, was a challenge) the customer service adviser said they couldn’t unlock the card and would have to send out a new one.

The alternative to using an OTP is for her to confirm payments via the M&S banking app, or with a card reader, but that looks even more complicated.

I understand the need for security, but how can banks make it so difficult?

CB, Wolverhampton

The anti-fraud rules, which came in to effect this year, are designed to make online transactions safer for consumers but the extra layer of security can be difficult to navigate.

M&S Bank says it proactively contacted customers to explain new identity checks and says customers who are struggling with two-factor authentication should contact it to discuss their individual needs.

M&S has been in touch with your mother and given her a specific number to call if she experiences further difficulties. You have power of attorney over her affairs and could go through this rigmarole for her. However, she is keen to maintain her independence.

Nonetheless, one way round this would be to get a card linked to her account.

We’d like to hear from readers who struggle (or help someone who does) with technology, and have found a bank or credit card company they’d recommend.

We welcome letters but cannot answer individually. Email us at or write to Consumer Champions, Money, the Guardian, 90 York Way, London N1 9GU. Please include a daytime phone number. Submission and publication of all letters is subject to our terms and conditions


Zoe Wood

The GuardianTramp

Related Content

Article image
Sainsbury’s Bank: it feels like loyalty isn’t on the cards
A reader writes that when they added their Nectar card number to an insurance quote, the price went up

Miles Brignall

04, Apr, 2022 @6:00 AM

Article image
Sainsbury's won't deliver the basic food I ordered for my student son
It imposes an age restriction and implied I broke the law by first registering the account in my name

Rebecca Smithers

01, Dec, 2020 @7:00 AM

Article image
Supermarket deliveries: how UK services stack up for price and choice
The Covid crisis has made many people rethink how they shop – we test the rival options

Patrick Collinson

05, Sep, 2020 @6:00 AM

Article image
Morrisons fails to deliver – and won’t refund me
Items were missing and deliveries were late or cancelled

Rebecca Smithers

16, Nov, 2020 @7:00 AM

Article image
Shoppers shocked as supermarkets’ online prices jump after ordering
At some big chains’ sites, the cost shown when you check out is a ‘guide price’ that may change later

Donna Ferguson

09, Apr, 2022 @6:00 AM

Article image
Tesco price jumps between online order and delivery
I checked out a whisky promotion but the invoice had doubled when it arrived

Rebecca Smithers

02, Nov, 2020 @7:00 AM

Article image
Potted ‘reptile’: the added ‘extra’ in our Sabra hummus
We found a weird foreign body but can’t get anyone to take responsibility

Rebecca Smithers

03, Feb, 2020 @7:00 AM

Article image
Sainsbury's took a loan payment after it said it wouldn't
But there’s better news for travellers, as Eurostar and BA ease coronavirus refund policies

Miles Brignall

12, May, 2020 @6:06 AM

Article image
How can Octopus give me a fixed-rate tariff that isn’t fixed?
All the literature confirmed the rate would not change, then it did

Zoe Wood

27, Sep, 2022 @6:00 AM

Article image
Why did Sainsbury’s fail to deliver the goods on all fronts?
My online shopping order didn’t arrive, but it didn’t explain why

Anna Tims

07, Feb, 2019 @7:00 AM