The British Red Cross has transformed its approach to cash assistance in the event of emergencies following a new partnership with banking-as-a-service provider Bankable and specialised payments platform Paysafe. Cash assistance is the means by which British Red Cross delivers financial aid during emergencies to make sure that recipients are able to access the goods and services they really need.
Emergencies – whether localised such as a house fire, or national or international such as a health pandemic – can have a large economic impact on communities. If homes are damaged and people aren’t able to work, communities that may already be in vulnerable situations are under increasing financial strain to make ends meet and British Red Cross is there to help. The charity is now able to give families and individuals in need access to prepaid Visa cards via on-the-ground support workers, instead of relying on cash.
Following the COVID-19 outbreak, some media reports suggesting that cash may aid the spread of disease have resulted in a shift in its usage and some retailers no longer accepting it as a form of payment, despite scientific evidence to the contrary. According to Paysafe research undertaken in April 2020, 53% of Brits are worried about handling cash following the COVID-19 outbreak, with 51% saying they planned to reduce their long term use of cash due to health and safety concerns.
The British Red Cross’ new Bankable-branded prepaid Visa cards are issued by Paysafe and can be used by recipients at any point of sale or ATM, that accepts Visa. The cards are pre-loaded with an amount defined by the charity and have a unique identification number.
The British Red Cross strives to provide scalable and timely cash assistance within hours after any UK emergency. Its mission is to support individuals and communities in preparing for, dealing with and recovering from a crisis, whoever and wherever they are. The charity responds to an emergency on average every four hours, ranging from domestic fires or utility outages to floods or terror attacks.
Jon Pewtner, UK Operations Cash Manager at the British Red Cross, comments: “By allowing families and individuals to use prepaid cards in the event of an emergency we are able to provide a safe, discrete and empowering way to distribute money to those in crisis. We now operate our Cash Assistance programme with a 24-hour support team. Working with Bankable, Paysafe and Visa we’ve been able to transform our approach to cash assistance and the way we provide funds to those in need in emergency situations. With this programme in place, we have been able to respond with agility and action throughout our COVID-19 response.”
Eric Mouilleron, Founder & CEO of Bankable said: “We’re proud to be supporting the British Red Cross in transforming their financial services and the provision of real-time funds to those in need. This is just one great example of the amazing work they do in supporting the nation in the event of a crisis.”
Lorenzo Pellegrino, CEO of Skrill, NETELLER and Income Access at Paysafe – responsible for the company’s Card Issuing division – added: “We’re seeing many innovative and specialised uses of prepaid cards, but this example is particularly powerful. We’re delighted to play a role in the British Red Cross’ transformation of its Cash Assistance programme.”