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Asylum: Finance

Question for Home Office

UIN HL893, tabled on 8 June 2021

To ask Her Majesty's Government what assessment they have made of delays in the issuing of the Aspen payment cards to asylum seekers.

Answered on

22 June 2021

The PrePaid Financial Services (PFS) solution is a well-established Mastercard pre-paid card used by organisations across the UK as well as abroad and has undergone over 5 months of rigorous testing to integrate with Home Office systems.

Service users were notified of the transition in advance and a significant majority of service users have received their Aspen card and successfully activated. The service is functioning as expected for those who have activated their card. The cards are fully working, withdrawals and purchases are being made and the automated IVR activation line is operating well.

Transitions of this nature are complex, and plans to mitigate anticipated issues were, and remain, in place. Cash payments were made available in emergencies. We will continue to work with the remainder of service users to activate their cards and ensure they are supported throughout.

Our main focus is to ensure all remaining service users have an activated card so the new service can be accessed and support payments received.

As part of our management of service contracts continuous improvement assessments will be factored in throughout the contract term and implemented accordingly.

Answered by

Home Office