Welcome.Place, Enfuce, Epassi, Visa partner for refugee prepaid card pilot
A banking services start-up in France, Welcome.Place, has partnered with Finnish paytechs Enfuce and Epassi, as well as payments giant Visa, to launch prepaid cards for refugees arriving in France.
The pilot project will initially focus on Ukrainian refugees, of which 120,000 arriving in France registered under official national assistance programmes. Refugees and immigrants will receive prepaid Visa cards that are pre-loaded with funds to facilitate spending on a range of items and services.
The goal is to provide a service that assists 50,000 Ukrainian and other refugees by the end of 2023.
In compliance with local regulations and payment industry mandates, Enfuce and its partner Epassi (a mobile payments provider for employment benefits) will facilitate the card issuing and physical card distribution.
Supported by Enfuce’s cloud-based payments processing platform, Welcome.Place can remotely set spending controls on each card, including where and how it can be used, with full tracking and monitoring of how money is spent. In addition, the cards can be instantly blocked from use for gambling and gaming, for example.
Welcome.Place, which describes itself as “a community-driven neobank”, was set up in 2022 to provide accessible financial solutions to new arrivals in Europe fleeing war and persecution and partners with NGOs and firms to provide newcomers with banking and financial services solutions.
Caroline Span, co-founder of Welcome.Place, says: “This new card can transform the lives of refugees arriving in Europe, empowering them with the dignity to buy what they need through a card that looks like any other bank card.”
Katherine Brown, vice president and head of inclusive impact and sustainability at Visa, says this pilot project “represents an incredibly important step in advancing the financial and social inclusion of displaced people in Europe”.