Westminster City Council and Citi, the major U.S. financial institution, have joined forces to offer children aged 16 and over a simple and convenient way to receive allowances and benefits payments such as university maintenance, travel and subsistence payments.
Under the pilot contract Citi will supply Prepaid cards to end users, who will then be able to use them just like any other debit card including via ATMs and for over the counter purchases.
Once the Citi Prepaid card solution has been piloted, Westminster City Council and Citi plan to expand across the Council to cover other potential payment flows. By using Citi Prepaid Services, Westminster City Council will be able to reduce processing costs and make savings in comparison to cash and cheque payments. The Council will continue to control the amount and flow of funds available to end users and will also benefit from standardised management information and control programmes.
Citi's procurement contract with Westminster City Council has been let under Lot 2 of the Buying Solutions' Government Procurement Card (GPC) framework agreement. This means that the City Council can participate without the costs of having to manage its own procurements.
Alastair Gilchrist, Strategic Director of Resources, Westminster City Council, said: "We recognise that Citi Prepaid Services is a major national partner to U.K. Public Sector institutions. Citi's prepaid card solution will reduce our payment costs, and help us better manage our payments process. In addition, Citi's solution will financially empower our end users by bringing them closer to financial inclusion."
Paul Coen, Head of Citi's UK Public Sector Group said: "We are delighted that Westminster City Council and Citi have come together to reduce payment processing costs and at the same time provide a better service to the end user. Citi is keenly aware of the budgetary challenges facing the public sector; through this contract we are confident we will be helping Westminster to get more for less."
Citi is the largest supplier of prepaid cards globally and it has designed its systems to cater specifically to the types of payments that councils make, particularly around social care. CCre. Citi currently provides benefit payment solutions under the Buying Solutions framework to other London councils: Lewisham is using Citi's Prepaid solution for payments to young people leaving care, and Havering, aligned with twenty nine other councils, will provide a variety of social care payments via Citi's Prepaid card solution.