(reposted here as suggested, originally posted to Competitor Update)
I came across this from the North East Migration Partnership. New pre-paid visa cards for people without bank accounts. I wondered if the Home Office is on Monzo’s list of potential integrations, and if asylum seekers might be a another group of potential users to be supported.
… new Aspen card which is due to be introduced into Middlesbrough, Stockton, Hartlepool and Redcar and Cleveland week commencing 13th February and to other parts of the North East in quick succession before the end of April.
Aspen is the new pre-paid Visa chip and pin card that individuals will use to collect their asylum support payments.
The current process for receiving “Section 95” support sees individuals going to the nearest Crown Post Office where they use their Application Registration Card (ARC) to draw down their weekly support allowance.
As part of the Home office’s commitment to improving services for customers, UKVI is modernising the documents used by asylum seekers to establish their identity and collect their support payments. The functions of the current ARC will be disaggregated, and two new documents provided to asylum seekers:
· New ARC – the resources required to produce the current ARC are no longer commercially viable and the IT infrastructure is outdated. A new, more secure, ARC will be provided, which will be used to establish identity and access relevant services.
· Aspen payment card – rather than being asked to visit the nearest Post Office, individuals will be issued with the Aspen card which can be used in most ATMs, and (subject to conditions pertaining to their eligibility for support) retail outlets where the Visa badge is accepted. The Aspen card will also be used to provide individuals with S4 support and ISTs, replacing the Azure card used today.
The new Aspen card builds on the current processes used by the Home Office and seeks to reduce disruption to staff and external stakeholders where possible, whilst allowing both the Home Office and the user to benefit from a modern, digital service.