Reception allowance on debit card to be tried at the Oulu, Turku and Tampere reception centres

Migri 2.2.2017 10.19
News item

The monthly reception allowance that is paid to asylum seekers will starting from February be paid to a debit card in some asylum centres. Using a debit card is a safer and cheaper way to pay the reception allowance than cash.

The debit card will initially be introduced in the Oulu, Turku and Tampere reception centres. Money can be transferred to the card and it can be used for paying salaries, for example, in addition to the reception allowance.

– The card makes it possible to pay the reception allowance in a safe, reliable and cost-effective way, says director of administration Jouko Salonen.

The card is safer to use than cash, in particular because the reception centres handle large amounts of money on the days that the allowance is paid. The debit card also facilitates the bookkeeping.

The card is limited and cannot be used to make payments online, for example

The card has certain limited features:

  • it can only be used for payments in Finland
  • it cannot be used to make payments online
  • the Finnish Immigration Service decides who can transfer money onto the card, usually this will be the reception centre but it can also be an employer

These limitations also support the work to combat the grey economy. The reception allowance is paid by the Finnish Immigration Service to the reception centre and the reception centre transfers the money onto the client’s card. No separate device is needed for the transfer, as the transfer is made online.

The debit card was piloted in 2016

The use of debit cards for the reception allowance was piloted last year.

– During 2016, we piloted the use of a card by the Finnish company Moni Nordic at reception centres in the metropolitan area, says Jouko Salonen.

The cooperation with Moni Nordic was a pilot to see how well it works to transfer, for example, salaries or welfare benefits paid by the municipalities to a debit card.

The joint procurement company Hansel Oy, owned by the Finnish state, has put the framework agreement for prepaid card solutions up for tender. The tender was won by the English company Prepaid Financial Services Ltd. In the negotiations after the procurement decision, it has been made sure that the card services provided by the company are a good solution for the payment of the reception allowance to asylum seekers. Initially, 600 Prepaid Financial Services Ltd cards will be used and if everything works well the number of cards will be increased gradually during spring.

Further information for the media

Jouko Salonen, Director of administration, +358 295 430 431, [email protected]

Press release