Pakistan uses pre-paid cards to distribute aid to flood victims
10 September 2010 | 10646 views | 3
The Pakistan government is working with Visa and United Bank Limited (UBL) to distribute aid to millions of families hit by the monsoon floods through pre-paid cards.
The Pakistan floods have affected around 20 million people, leaving four million homeless and six million in urgent need of food aid, according to the UN.
The country's identification agency Nadra is working with Visa and UBL to issue around two million government-funded pre-paid cards loaded with PKr20,000 ($230) each.
The switch from cash to electronic distribution of aid follows a similar project last year that saw 400,000 cards issued by the partners to internally displaced persons in the Northwest of the country.
Visa says it is also working with others in Pakistan to establish an acceptance infrastructure that allows recipients to make purchases of essential items for their families at local merchants or to withdraw cash.
Ali Arshad Hakeem, chairman, Nadra, says: "Our positive experience with the IDP Visa prepaid debit card last year increased confidence among the government and people of Pakistan that electronic payments are the future for aid disbursement, and an important first step towards financial inclusion."