Alliance and Leicester Commercial Bank has launched a prepaid card scheme for housing benefit payments.
A&L’s prepaid card payments solution is being implemented following the Government’s scheme to transfer payment of housing benefit to claimants, as opposed to their landlords. Local authorities are expected to save up to 75 per cent of housing benefit processing costs, while claimants will no longer have to pay an average 10 per cent commission to convert housing benefit cheques into cash.
The prepaid card works in the same way as a debit card, allowing claimants to access funds from ATMs, banks and building societies, as well as providing account balance information, and online and telephone access for account servicing.
The prepaid card solution is aimed at the 800,000 UK citizens who receive housing benefit and are also classified as being ‘unbanked’, due to having no access to a current or deposit account.
John Schratz, director of sales and marketing for prepaid cards, Alliance and Leicester Commercial Bank, said, “The prepaid card is available to everyone, regardless of financial situation or history, offering financial inclusivity as well as a cost-effective payment solution for local authorities. The card not only supports local authorities in their efforts towards financial inclusivity for all recipients, but also helps to improve efficiency and increase the services that can be offered to unbanked benefit claimants.”