Currently more than hundreds of thousands of refugees are stranded in refugee camps in Greece. After several Balkan countries sealed their borders, some of these refugees are trapped on Aegean Islands, but more are enduring the unsanitary and at times dangerous camps.
In an attempt to bring hope and better conditions, e-money firm Prepaid Financial Services (PFS) launched a prepaid card program through international relief organization Samaritan’s Purse to help financially support those refugees living under these conditions.
For the past year, Samaritan’s Purse has been working in Greece, focused on the refugee issue to improve conditions from offering water and sanitation help, to shelter options, emergency food, as well as critical relief items and even asylum services. The organization sees PFS’ prepaid cash card as a secure and beneficial way for refugees to access what they need in the local markets.
“Until recently, our main support was provided through in-kind distributions,” Sally Morson, cash program manager for Samaritan’s Purse, said in a release. “Now, we are moving toward a cash-based response where the refugees and migrants will be given the freedom of choice, which promotes dignity and resilience.”
The cards, which each have a unique PIN code, ATM and Point of Sale (POS) capabilities, will be distributed to refugees and migrants across Greece. Experts say this method of distributing cash is most appropriate for the context.
“We are confident that this new method of distributing funds will alleviate pressure on Samaritan’s Purse, letting them focus on continuing to improve conditions and support people in camps,” said Noel Moran, CEO of PFS.
The company has previously developed a program for those seeking asylum in Europe. The program was rolled out to immigration processing centers for the roughly 30,000 people seeking asylum each year. It allowed government departments to have more clarity into knowing how funds were distributed, while also staying within regulations.
PFS, based in the U.K.S, has a history of working with charities and government bodies to bring about prepaid card programs. Earlier this year, the Finnish government appointed PFS to manage its first prepaid card for the country’s prison system. In March, PFS worked with Slovenia’s largest bank on a prepaid contactless, white-label card product focused on millennials.