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Local Government Pre Paid Sector Update

Posted 3rd March 2010.

The card is a VISA prepaid card, and the Boston Marks solution enables the Local Authority contribution to be made safely and securely direct onto the card, with a real time audit trail of all transactions.

The combined payment solution is made possible by a unique payments integration software, LA2plus, that Boston Marks has commissioned specifically for the Local Authority sector and which it has been developing exclusively with its software partner for many months.

The Visa prepaid card combined with LA2plus offers Local Authorities safety, security and an auditable trail for self-directed support programmes. The overall technology solution from Boston Marks was previously not possible with prepaid cards. Martin Polak, director of Boston Marks, said: We have worked closely with Local Authorities over the past few years to really understand their needs in great detail. Our solution will deliver cost savings and efficiencies for Local Authorities, wherever cash, cheques and payments are being made – especially if you require a tried and tested payment solution to tackle and deliver on the self-directed support agenda.

Cheshire East is the latest Local Authority to utilise Boston Marks prepaid solutions, facilitated in this case by Citi. Martin Polak added: Cheshire East are using an innovative Visa prepaid card called Empower, tailored exactly to meet both the councils needs and those in receipt of self-directed support. A major advantage of this initiative is the substantive work done by Boston Marks to enable the delivery of the individuals contribution via our unique bespoke payment system, LA2plus. Boston Marks has engineered this business software process from scratch, to enable the payment model to work in line with the Councils exact requirements.

The Cheshire East Empower card is totally auditable, ensuring best value is received. People in receipt of self-directed support will now be able to plan and manage their own spend on daily items, which in many cases will represent complete freedom and empowerment to run their own financial affairs, in ways which were never dreamed possible before.

The Empower card truly marks a significant step forward for local authorities, empowering those in receipt of self-directed support to make decisions that will directly affect their daily lives in a positive way. It is the first technology initiative of its type anywhere in the country, and is testament to Cheshire Easts desire to use the best combined payment and technology solution currently available. Boston Marks has already introduced more conventional prepaid card solutions into other Local Authorities, and is also working with Credit Unions across the UK, with a bespoke prepaid card programme. Boston Marks is dedicated to the prepaid market, and backed by many years business experience in the financial services, software and technology sectors. For further information visit http://www.bostonmarks.co.uk
ENDS

Photograph and caption
L-R Martin Polak, Director of Boston Marks; Jonathan Nixon; Broadcaster Stuart Hall; Wynn Spencer, Assurance Manager, Cheshire East Council; Jackie Alexander, local resident and Empower card user; and Cllr Roland Domleo, Adult Services Portfolio Holder, Cheshire East Council.

Notes to editors
Prepaid cards deliver the following and much more
No credit checks; No line of credit; Can be used wherever Visa accepted; Can be easily cancelled / blocked if lost or stolen; Can be used online, at point of sale and at an ATM; Emergency cards available; Can be issued to minors; Companion cards are available; Chip and PIN enabled; Card can be branded; Online management information and statements available.

Local authorities are rapidly realising the benefits of Prepaid Cards, offering a means of reducing the need for individuals to open their own bank accounts. One further advantage is the ability to keep track of how the money is being used, without the need to request paper copies of statements and receipts, offering considerable time and cost savings; for service users, this can also mean less paperwork. In addition, there is some scope for specifying what kind of transactions the card can be used for. The use of payment cards are a 21st Century means of making direct payments, and are helping authorities become more efficient. Additional advantages include the ready ability to monitor account activity, identify account management issues and to manage payment issues. Authorities are able to improve their recording activity in regard to the totality of a clients care needs and direct payment expenditure. Prepaid cards offer a reduction of the administration burden and an improved budgetary control, with ready evidence available for internal audit.

For further information on Boston Marks prepaid card corporate solutions, contact:
Boston Marks Ltd. Tel: 0161 919 0500.
E-mail: info@bostonmarks.co.uk

Press contact :
Jon Gardner
BeyondPR
Tel 0114 275 6996
Mob 07930 697773. E-mail jon.gardner@beyondpr.co.uk