Consumer Payment Card News

Rescue Cards

Payment cards have come to the rescue in the mind-boggling task of distributing assistance benefits to victims of the recent hurricane disaster. The Federal Emergency Management Agency and the American Red Cross are using stored value or debit cards to hand out millions of dollars in Katrina relief funds. The “FEMA E-funds MasterCard” is a pilot program while the “American Red Cross Client Assistance MasterCard” has been around for three years. Both cards are issued through Chase. As of this past weekend, the FEMA cards were used to distribute more than $17 million to displaced households in the large shelters located in Houston, San Antonio, and Dallas. The FEMA card was loaded with $2,000 in government funds per household. The FEMA card program has since stopped and is currently under review. However, the Red Cross continues to distribute between $850 and $1,600 via its card program to hurricane victims, depending on family size. As of September 11th, the Red Cross has received $584 million in gifts and pledges for the hurricane relief effort, of which an estimated $308.1 million has been received online. For more information visit: “”: or “”:

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