The British Red Cross has partnered with banking-as-a-service provider Bankable and payments platform Paysafe to offer Visa prepaid cards in emergencies.

The launch is part of the charity’s attempt to transform its approach to cash assistance. 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.

Recipients can use the prepaid cards 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.

Jon Pewtner, UK Operations Cash Manager at the British Red Cross, said: “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.”

Shift away from cash 

The announcement comes after media reports suggested cash may aid the spread of Covid-19, resulting in some retailers no longer accepting cash.

According to Paysafe research conducted in April 2020, 53% of Brits said they were worried about handling cash following Covid-19. In addition, 51% said they planned to reduce their long term use of cash due to health and safety concerns.

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Pewtner added: “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.”