Visa and Enfuce launch prepaid cards for Ukrainian refugees in France
By Gloria Methri
A banking services start-up in France, Welcome.Place, has partnered with Finnish PayTechs Enfuce and Epassi, along with payments giant Visa, to launch prepaid cards for refugees arriving in France.
The pilot project will mainly focus on Ukrainian refugees who have arrived in France since the start of the war in Ukraine in February 2022. Since then, an estimated 8 million people have fled the country, according to the United Nations, with around 120,000 arriving in France. They are now registered under official national assistance programmes.
Welcome.Place was established in 2022 as a community-driven neobank to provide simple, inclusive and accessible financial solutions for all newcomers to help them settle.
As part of its “Welcome Package”, refugees and immigrants arriving in France will receive a prepaid Visa card that is pre-loaded with funds to facilitate spending on a range of items and services within their first weeks in the country. Enfuce and its partner Epassi will facilitate the card issuing and physical card distribution.
Supported by Enfuce’s cloud-based processing platform, Welcome.Place can also remotely set full spending controls on each card, including where and how it can be used, with full tracking and monitoring of how money is spent.
Once the pilot project is complete, a larger contract is likely to be signed this year to expand the scale of the card programme to serve more refugees.
“The economic and social inclusion of newcomers and refugees normally takes 5 years to achieve – with the help of Enfuce and Visa, we can reduce this inclusion period to just one year,” said Caroline Span, Co-founder of Welcome.Place.
“Accelerating access to the mainstream monetary system improves prospects for rebuilding a life in a new environment, and therefore Visa is proud to work with Enfuce to enable a Welcome.Place to those affected by forced displacement,” said Katherine Brown, VP and Head of Inclusive Impact & Sustainability of Visa.
Denise Johansson, Co-Founder and Co-CEO of Enfuce, added, “Not only does the card programme give Welcome.Place full control of how donated funds are distributed and spent, most importantly it gives refugees the means to rebuild their lives and become financially included.”
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