Global Citizen

Red Cross Gives Prepaid Cards To Greek Refugees

In an effort to help refugees in Greece, the International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies (IFRC) has selected Prepaid Financial Services Limited (PFS) to provide a cashless management solution that will allow the more than 60,000 refugees currently stranded in the country pay for essentials.

A press release explained how many of the refugees spent a long winter sleeping in tents when temperatures frequently fell below zero. The majority of refugees passing through Greece came from Syria, Afghanistan, Iraq and other countries torn apart by war and violence. The IFRC has been working in the country since July 2015 to improve the refugees’ standard of living and help them recover as they await resettlement.

With that in mind, the IFRC needed a solution that offered refugees a secure and efficient way of receiving and managing money to pay for food, warm clothing and other essentials. It also wanted to be able to to audit how the money was being spent.

PFS, an established e-money issuer and alternative banking provider with an extensive background in financial solutions for the unbanked, will be acting as the issuer of prepaid cards that will be distributed to beneficiaries under the Hellenic Red Cross and IFRC Cash Transfer Programme (CTP) for people seeking asylum in Greece. The card can only be used in Greece, and there are some restrictions on certain merchant category codes to ensure the money is being used for the purpose of aid. Since the program launched, cards have been issued to more than 4,250 people.

“The prepaid cards allow refugees to make purchases for food and other essential items in a secure and dignified manner, as the cards look like any other credit or debit card,” said Noel Moran, CEO of PFS. “Importantly, as the card removes the need for refugees to carry large sums of cash, [the refugees] are therefore less likely to be a target for criminals.”

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