17 April 2024

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Banking & Finance
| The European |

Governments around the world trust EML with their payment disbursement programmes – and on the island of Jersey, it brought relief from the Covid crisis

EML is an S&P/ASX 200-listed payments technology company that is committed to helping governments worldwide get money into the hands of people who need it the most – fast.

Most recently, citizens in the United States, the United Kingdom, Australia, Spain, Italy and Finland have been assisted with innovative Disbursement-as-a-Service (DaaS) payment solutions.

EML is hugely influential in the international emergency disbursement space, and has 561 programmes live in the market, including:

  • USA: United Way
  • UK: Crown Commercial Service, NEPO, NHS/Royal Voluntary Service, award-winning Government of Jersey & Local Authorities nationwide
  • Australia: Queensland Government & Northern Territory Government
  • Spain: Correos
  • Italy: Epipoli
  • Finland: Hansel

Alongside its many global initiatives, EML’s innovation recently brought financial relief on the island of Jersey. Tom Cregan Managing Director & Group CEO at EML takes up the story:

“In the space of just four weeks, EML successfully deployed the world’s first Covid-19-related government economic stimulus programme of its kind. For the first time, a government disbursed funds using prepaid cards directly to people without any qualification other than they were a citizen.

“EML was delighted to partner with the Government of Jersey to enable its unique Spend Local prepaid Mastercard initiative with 105,000 cards. It formed part of the government’s overall £150m fiscal stimulus package to help alleviate the economic hardship caused by the pandemic.”

All eligible citizens in Jersey were posted their own £100 EML-powered Spend Local card to use in businesses across the island until midnight on October 31 2020. After that date, cardholders were advised to retain their prepaid card if another stimulus package was announced in the future.

Speaking at the time, Senator John Le Fondré, Chief Minister of Jersey said: “This scheme will give islanders a positive way to support local businesses that have worked hard to adapt to the impact of Covid-19 and look after their customers in a safe way. The pandemic caused businesses across all sectors in Jersey to suffer. And while the government has provided support through a range of measures, this scheme allows Islanders the opportunity to go out and treat themselves by supporting local Island businesses.’’

Kelly Devine, President, Mastercard UK & Ireland added: “The Covid-19 outbreak has had a real impact on businesses, and governments around the world are looking for ways to stimulate their economies. This innovative solution offers a real alternative to stimulus packages delivered through local tax or benefits systems, giving greater precision for the spending of the funds. Authorities can target where, when and exactly how much can be spent, and as in the case of the Government of Jersey, focus all of the benefit on the island’s community.”

The results were nothing short of phenomenal. In all, 97.5% of the total population activated their card, spending a total of £10.12m in local shops and businesses. The spending was 95.5% of the possible total available to spend locally. The success immediately caught the attention of a panel of judges and won a prestigious One Gov award for innovation. What is exciting is that the results in Jersey can easily be replicated in any country.

When asked about the experience of getting the Jersey stimulus programme live at break-neck speed, EML’s project management team said that by focusing on finding fast solutions, they discovered a whole new way of operating. The process was coordinated quickly with dedicated teams, all the while working from home. Cregan recalls the weeks and months that followed the financial disbursement programme:

“The EML family vividly remembers the public’s reaction to their hard work, which became a runaway success. On October 5th, 2020, local newspaper the Jersey Evening Post ran with the headline: ‘Some shops double takings thanks to Spend Local cards’. It was everything the team had hoped for and more.

“But, this was just the start of the global interest the story attracted. News Editors published 612 reports in the English, Germany, Spanish and French languages. In fact, the Jersey story made news in 249 cities in 83 countries and counting, exposing the success story to an estimated 2.26 billion people worldwide. Within hours, the story had grabbed the attention of Sky News, and a live TV interview was arranged for the prime-time Ian King Live lunchtime business show. It was the second time in a year that Ian had interviewed our team about achieving feats in fintech innovation for people everywhere.

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