PFS to Offer Prepaid Cards in Finnish Prisons
The Finnish government and Prepaid Financial Services (PFS) have teamed up to launch a new prepaid platform offering cards for use by the country’s prison inmates. Rolled out in May, the program makes prepaid cards available to prisoners upon arrival at prisons throughout Finland. Funds subsequently can be loaded via IBAN payments from family members or by the institutions themselves for salary payments. Having a specific prepaid account connected to each inmate increases the safety of transactions and enables more efficient distribution, according to the Criminal Sanctions Agency, which runs Finland’s prison system. Pay Award-winning PFS will provide program management for the platform.
Prepaid cards have long been used by governments around the globe for benefits and aid disbursement—and in the U.S., prepaid cards have been distributed to prisoners upon release. Leveraging prepaid for use by inmates while incarcerated is a relatively novel concept—but one with much potential, noted PFS CEO Noel Moran. “Increasingly, more governments and local authorities … are getting a better understanding of the benefits of a cashless system. I believe we’re only just scratching the service of the ways … this technology can be applied,” Moran said.
Despite high bank account penetration across Nordic markets, prepaid is carving out a foothold in the region, largely by appealing to certain demographics and use cases. Last week, Wirecard partnered with Norwegian program manager Paygoo to launch a reloadable prepaid MasterCard, distributed through convenience stores in Norway and Sweden, targeting foreign workers living in those countries.