KARACHI (September 14 2010): Visa Inc (NYSE-V) announced that it has again partnered with United Bank Limited Pakistan (UBL) and local Pakistani agencies to help distribute relief funds to 2 million families affected by the floods. The Watan Visa prepaid debit card, funded by the Pakistan government, will be loaded each with Pkr20,000 (US $230) and issued by UBL in the coming weeks.
The decision by the Pakistani government to switch from cash to electronic distribution of aid follows last year’s successful partnership with Visa and UBL to relieve the suffering of internally displaced persons (IDPs) in the Northwest of the country through the issuance of 400,000 Visa prepaid debit cards. Nadra, Pakistan’s governmental identification agency, is working closely with Visa and the issuing bank on the deployment of cards across the country.
In addition, Visa is working with its partners in Pakistan to establish an acceptance infrastructure that allows recipients to make purchases of essential items for their families at local merchants or to withdraw cash. “Partnering with a globally-recognised and respected company like Visa, and a well-established local bank partner – UBL – sends a strong message to the Pakistan people and the international community that we are committed to distributing aid to flood victims in the most efficient and transparent way possible,” said Ali Arshad Hakeem, Nadra Chairman.
“Our positive experience with the IDP Visa prepaid debit card last year increased confidence among the government and people of Pakistan that electronic payments are the future for aid disbursement, and an important first step towards financial inclusion.” “Visa is once again proud to respond to the critical situation in Pakistan with the best tools we have available – our fast and secure electronic payment network and products,” said Elizabeth Buse, Group Executive, Visa Inc. “Governments around the world have embraced prepaid debit cards as a faster, more secure and, ultimately, more inclusive way to distribute aid to its citizens, and Visa is committed to supporting those efforts.”
The current monsoon floods in Pakistan have affected nearly 20 million people, left 4 million people homeless and destroyed thousands of villages. Visa works with government agencies around the world to move from paper-based distribution of electronic benefits to electronic means – like reloadable prepaid cards – for everything from child support, to unemployment benefits and worker’s compensation, to emergency assistance and disaster relief.-PR -brecorder