Headlines: May 3rd, 2011

Mis-spending of child benefit payments on luxuries such as plastic surgery or foreign holidays can be limited with the latest versions of pre-payment systems.

The latest pre-payment cards have a range of benefits which automatic reloading on set dates through a central system. This reduces staff workloads and has significantly reduced the costs for processing payments.

Prepaid is already issued, in the form of cards, to asylum seekers, and some local councils have used it to improve the way they make payments to residents. It has proved popular with residents and staff. People no longer need to come in person to the Council’s offices and the staff do not have to transport cash and make cash payments, with its obvious security problems. The US has led the way in developing innovations in payment technology to target benefits in a way that limits misuse.

Kevin Harrington, MD of the Global Prepaid Exchange said, “The larger welfare payments, the ones that provoke the most heated debate, are given to parents to spend on their children. Most people support the idea of ensuring that children do not suffer the stigma of poverty in 21st Century Britain, and things like being able to take part in out of school activities, are an important part of that. However there have been numerous media reports of parents instead spending the money on luxuries that those in work can’t afford. This is where pre-payment cards can make a difference.”