Prepaid cards have seemingly endless use cases, serving as useful conveyors of gifts, rewards, and government benefits. During the pandemic, prepaid cards have also supported important charitable initiatives aimed at supporting those facing significant economic hardship. One such initiative has been launched by GiveCard, a Boston-based fintech nonprofit that distributes Visa prepaid cards to housing-insecure individuals throughout the U.S. The organization loads an average of $250 per month for three months onto each card, and recipients have indicated that this financial aid provides them with meaningful assistance.
In an increasingly cashless society, prepaid cards for housing-insecure people can play a critical role in achieving financial stability. As this Boston Globe article notes, “Often, the simplest barrier to helping someone surviving without shelter isn’t any lack of willingness from passersby, but the absence of physical bills in their wallets.” GiveCard and organizations like it are utilizing prepaid cards in support of their important work.
More from the Boston Globe article:
“The program, started by two recent Boston College graduates ― Lurein Perera and Diksha Thach ― serves as one of the first real-world experiments, outside of government programs or academic research studies, in simply handing out sums of money with no strings attached…
When someone first receives a card, Perera said, smaller and more frequent purchases are common — such as a $6 lunch at McDonald’s, a $10 dinner at Burger King. But once that person is close to securing housing, there tends to be a ‘severe drop’ in everyday spending as the recipient saves for a rental deposit. Other big purchases, such as a $60 Target run or a $100 Stop & Shop trip, can indicate the individual is now housed and has access to refrigeration.
‘Our thesis is just give people money and give people autonomy and trust that they’ll uplift themselves in whatever ways they see fit,’ Perera said. ‘And that’s starting to show to be true.’”
Overview by Laura Handly, Research Analyst at Mercator Advisory Group