PREpaid cards for the homeless

Hello, I have often wondered whether we could introduce pre-paid cards that we could give to homeless people. I never carry cash anymore but I think although it might not solve the homeless issue, being able to donate a set amount of money each month to someone directly could be the difference that changes their lives for the better. I don’t know the legalities around it but has this been brought up before? Thanks


That’s a great idea but unfortunately, I don’t think Monzo are going to be able to provide prepaid cards for this purpose, for a couple of reasons:

This came up at the time of the Grenfell Tower disaster & Monzo couldn’t provide cards for the residents because the prepaid cards required

They’ve also recently shut down their prepaid card program which was costing them an unsustainable amount of money.

However at the time, the team said that

& they do plan to offer their current accounts to the unbanked so they might be able to provide another solution for this, without using prepaid cards :crossed_fingers:


Homeless people probably won’t have smartphones though. Might be better to donate to a homeless charity

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You’d be surprised -

they’re so cheap now that the homeless can afford a basic smartphone or be given them.


Although I don’t know about the practicalities of giving homeless people debit cards I can say that many have smart phones. I work in a homeless shelter in North London. Many of our clients have smart phones.


I occasionally work for a homeless charity Crisis and we did this over Christmas, asked people to donate their old (usable) phones so these can be given to homeless people.

I think the main issue is the most homeless struggle to find places to charge and their positions often get stolen/lost.

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Sure, I think the point is, this is an area worth looking at & the homeless not having smartphones aren’t a barrier. So let’s get back back to the original topic / idea which is the important bit :slight_smile:

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Thanks Alex, that’s very interesting and I can understand the challenges. I’d never heard of the “unbanked” before, but that’s really the people I’m thinking about. I’d happily pay for bank charges on a card on someones behalf in the right circumstances if that was the only obstacle.

I’m also not sure having the phone would be entirely necessary but yes they are easy to get hold of, particularly with free charge points becoming more readily available.

Anyway, it will be interesting to follow any developments in this area :slight_smile:


Hey Christine, let me know if you made any progress on this. I’d be so interested in solving this issue and have an easy solution for homeless people to take a contactless payment and spend it.